February 19, 2018

Catalan leader calls for global mediation

04 October 2017, 10:13 | Christie Tate

Catalonia referendum 'not legal' - European Union

Gerard Pique looks on during the World Cup Qualifier between Spain and Italy at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in September 2017

The region's leaders defied Madrid by holding a banned referendum on independence on Sunday.

Catalan leaders say they expect to declare independence in the coming days.

Rivera called on Rajoy to suspend Catalan autonomy and hold elections in the region to change the nationalist-led government there, something Madrid has not ruled out.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Euronews that the EU will only recognise an independent Catalonia with Spain's blessing.

The address comes on the heels of Sunday's Catalan independence referendum, which violated the Spanish Constitution and was marked by police aggression against peaceful demonstrators who were trying to vote.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during the vote, during which almost 900 people were hurt, including 33 police officers.

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The latest comments from Catalan's independence figurehead Puigdemont throw the gauntlet down to Spain to do what it can to prevent one of the worst constitutional crises in the country's recent history.

Still, King Felipe's message falls in line with the Spanish government, which declared Catalonia's referendum unconstitutional prior to Sunday's vote.

"There is no button to push for independence, it does not exist", Puigdemont said, according to The Guardian. "We have all seen what has happened in Catalonia with the aim of the Generalitat (Catalan Parliament) for the illegal proclamation of independence of Catalonia", began the King. The region has 5.3 million registered voters.

He said Germany wasn't seeking to mediate in the dispute between Madrid and the regional government in Barcelona.

Spain's king has said the leaders of Catalonia have broken the law and shown an inadmissible lack of loyalty. The issue has been deeply divisive throughout Spain at large, while on the global stage, the government has been criticised for describing the police's actions as "proportionate".

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