Catalonia to declare independence in a matter of days, says president
‘It’s an European issue. I think we won the right to be heard,’ Carles Puigdemont says in an interview with the BBC
Catalonia is set to declare independence in a matter of days, says president Carles Puigdemont. In his first interview since Sunday’s referendum, when Spain’s police violent crackdown on voters left nearly 900 people injured, Puigdemont told the BBC that his government “will act over the weekend or early next week,” after all votes from abroad are counted.
Despite Spain’s attempts to hamper the referendum, which it deems illegal, the Catalan government says 2.26 million people cast their ballots, with 90% of them supporting independence.
Puigdemont dismissed claims from EU leaders who consider the political situation in Catalonia as an “internal matter” of Spain. “It’s an European issue. I think we won the right to be heard,” he said.
“How can we explain to the world that Europe is a paradise of democracy if we hit old women and people who have done nothing wrong?"
Carles Puigdemont · Catalan president
“How can we explain to the world that Europe is a paradise of democracy if we hit old women and people who have done nothing wrong? This is not acceptable,” Puigdemont said. “We haven’t seen such a disproportionate and brutal use of force since the death of the dictator Franco.”
While the Spanish government stands firm in its refusal of Sunday’s results and denies negotiations over an agreed referendum, Puigdemont anticipates further retaliations for their defiance. For instance, a takeover from Madrid of the Catalan government.
“It will be another error in a long list of mistakes. Each week, after every mistake, we’ve gained support from society,” Puigdemont says, “that's a more clear-cut error, like taking control of our administration, or arresting members of our government, including me. This could be the ultimate mistake.”