Abril 25, 2018

Catalonia Has Won 'Right To An Independent State', Says Leader

02 Octubre 2017, 12:39 | Gervasio Siguenza

Anti-independence protesters on the streets of Barcelona a day ahead of Catalonia's referendum Credit Getty Images

Anti-independence protesters on the streets of Barcelona a day ahead of Catalonia's referendum
Getty Images

If Catalonia declares independence, Spain's central government in Madrid could seize control of the region, relying on an obscure decree in the country's constitution.

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across Catalonia to try and stop the referendum on independence.

Catalonia has "won the right to become an independent state", Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said.

Pep Guardiola backed Gerard Pique after the defender criticised the Spanish government over its treatment of people trying to vote in the referendum on independence on Sunday.

After polls closed Rajoy made a televised address reiterating that voters had been tricked by Catalonia's political leaders, and that the national police had simply responded in accordance with their orders.

In the run-up to the referendum, La Liga boss Javier Tebas had warned Barcelona that the Catalan club would be expelled if the region seceded. Only about 42% of the region's 5.3 million voters cast ballots, according to Reuters. Participants said they were shocked to see the actions of police against unarmed civilians. The ministry said 11 police officers were slightly injured in disturbances.

Spanish authorities have denied accusations of police brutality and claimed that no referendum took place in Spain.

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.

Hundreds were injured as riot police raided polling stations and fired rubber bullets in a concerted attempt to deny the vote legitimacy.

Augusto Delkader, a protester at the Plaza del Sol, said he was outraged by the response to the referendum.

The Spanish government shut down websites promoting the referendum, but new apps popped up to guide voters to the nearest polling station.

Organisers smuggled in ballot boxes before dawn and urged voters to use passive resistance against police.

The Spanish government declared the referendum unconstitutional prior to the vote and now says it was successfully disrupted.

In an editorial, leading Spanish daily El Pais blamed the Catalan government for Sunday's "shameful" events but also criticized the Spanish government for its inability to tackle the crisis since it began about seven years ago.

Relations between Caracas and Madrid deteriorated following the creation of an all-powerful Constitutional Assembly in Venezuela - with Spain pressing the European Union to impose sanctions on Maduro's government.

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