Catalan Leaders Seek to Make Referendum Binding

Reuters              Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum in Barcelona Spain
Reuters Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum in Barcelona Spain
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05 October, 2017

Carles Puigdemont pledged to defy Madrid and implement the results of Sunday's banned independence referendum which went ahead despite a violent crackdown by Spanish police that left 900 people injured.

Mr. Puigdemont has said that the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is returning Spain to the authoritarianism of the former dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

In a TV address to the nation, he said the situation in Spain was "extremely serious", and called for unity.

"There's no going back now... the days to come will be complicated, but we have to resist", David Peña, an activist in Catalonia, said.

Schinas also said the Commission trusts "the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this hard process".

Speaking in the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans reiterated the commission's view that the under Spanish constitution, Sunday's vote was not legal.

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He called for Spanish national police reinforcements to leave the region after Sunday's violence, and for worldwide mediation to solve the political deadlock.

"We are going through hard and complicated moments and with respect to what could happen in the future we will take it on with calm and wisdom".

Almost 900 people were injured in clashes after Spanish riot police entered voting stations to stop people from voting.

Tuesday's interview was Puigdemont's first since Sunday's vote, during which Madrid deployed riot police to prevent residents from casting their ballots. "However it is of course a duty for any government to uphold the rule of law and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force", he said.

Catalan leaders are mulling a possible declaration of independence following the poll, but Spain's government has said it will respond with "all necessary measures" against defiance.

The four include regional police chief officer Josep Lluis Trapero and Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly that has been the main civic group behind the independence movement. For more, we speak with Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College and author of the forthcoming book "Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography".


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