March 22, 2018

We have won the right to an independent state - Catalan leader

02 October 2017, 01:29 | Christie Tate

A giant Catalan separatist flag at the University of Barcelona Credit Reuters

A giant Catalan separatist flag at the University of Barcelona

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that the rule of law had prevailed in Catalonia because the independence referendum in the region prohibited by the courts had been blocked.

Mr Puigdemont had been due to appear at the polling station and was forced to cast his ballot in nearby Cornella del Terri instead.

The mayor also demanded that police must stop using violence against voters. Spain's Interior Ministry said nine members of the national police force and two members of the Civil Guard had been injured in scuffles, CNN reported.

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across Catalonia to try and stop today's referendum, sometimes beating voters.

Barcelona's mayor said at least 460 people were injured as police cracked down on what the Spanish central government branded a "farce".

On Sunday, Catalonia held a referendum on seceding from Spain.

"My first obligation was to obey the law and to make sure it was obeyed", he said, adding that security forces had acted with "firmness and serenity" in stopping the Catalan referendum.

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An elderly woman was injured when police broke into a polling station in Girona, where Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont was supposed to vote.

"We will be consistent with the democratic mandate that citizens have given us today", he added.

Before the referendum, opinion polls indicated a minority of around 40 percent of the region's total 7.5 million people supported independence, although a majority of residents in the region nonetheless wanted a referendum to take place.

Barcelona's soccer game against Las Palmas went ahead without fans in attendance at the Camp Nou stadium, amid the disputed referendum on Catalonia's independence.

At some schools that were being used as polling stations, police used axes to smash their way inside before charging into crowds and even in some cases firing rubber bullets.

Catalonia is one of the country's most affluent regions, contributing a fifth of Spain's economy and separatist Catalans complain of contributing too much to the state while not getting enough in return.

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