Catalonia Claims Crushing Majority Backed Independence From Spain

REUTERS/Albert Gea

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont claims the region has the right to claim independence from Spain after a reported 90 percent voted for independence in Sunday’s banned referendum.

Puigdemont said the results, which are not recognized as valid by Spain, have paved the way for a unilateral declaration of independence. Regional leaders have previously stated that a declaration could be made within 48 hours of polls closing.

“With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic,” Puigdemont said in an address to the nation. “My government, in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.”

The claim was contested by Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, who said police stopped the referendum from happening.

“At this hour I can tell you in the strongest terms what you already know and what we have seen throughout this day. There has not been a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia,” Rajoy said before polls closed.

Catalonian authorities have reported 840 injuries during clashes between Spanish police and voters.

The Spanish government tried to prevent people from voting by sealing off a majority of the more than 2,000 voting locations. A video shows how police officers stormed into a school and seized ballot boxes.

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