Referendum vote sparks backlash in Catalonia

Published On October 2, 2017 | By Hayley Barnes | International, News

By: Daniel Caudle

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has called for international mediation to resolve a stand-off with Madrid.

“It’s not a domestic matter, it’s obvious that we need mediation,” Puigdemont told reporters.

The call for help comes after Catalonia held a referendum vote for independence in which officials say 90 per cent voted for independence. Voters were met with fierce opposition from the police who tried to block voters resulting in almost 900 people being injured.

According to witnesses the riot police used rubber bullets and batons as a show of force to discourage people from voting.

A woman shouts slogans against Spanish National Police during a gathering outside National Police station, in Barcelona, Spain October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman


Puigdemont held the referendum in defiance of a court order, saying that the vote was binding and had to be applied, vowing to push ahead with independence despite international backlash.

Catalan’s vote for independence is illegal under Spains constitution.

Justice Minister Rafael Catala said Spain could use its constitutional power to suspend Catalan’s existing autonomy if the regional parliament declared independence.

In a television address, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariana Rajoy blamed Catalan leaders for holding a referendum that they knew was illegal.

The controversial vote has led to the European Commission releasing a statement on the issue, saying that the referendum is illegal and urging unity and stability.


People shout during a protest outside National Police station, in Barcelona, Spain October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

“We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialog. Violence can never be an instrument in politics,” said Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesperson for the Comission, shortly before Puigdemont asked for EU mediation.

Of the 5.3 million people eligible to vote, officials say that 2.3 million people cast a ballot for independence.

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