Catalans 'win right to break with Spain'


Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence.

He said the door had been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence.

Catalan officials later said 90% of those who voted backed independence in Sunday’s vote. The turnout was 42.3%.

Spain’s constitutional court had declared the poll illegal and hundreds of people were injured as police used force to try to block voting.

Officers seized ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.

“With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic,” Mr Puigdemont said in a televised address flanked by other senior Catalan leaders.

“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.”

He said the European Union could no longer “continue to look the other way”.

In another development, more than 40 trade unions and Catalan associations called a region-wide strike on Tuesday due to “the grave violation of rights and freedoms”.

Earlier, as voting ended, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote. He called it a “mockery” of democracy.

“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,” he said.

Large crowds of independence supporters gathered in the centre of the regional capital Barcelona on Sunday evening, waving flags and singing the Catalan anthem. Anti-independence protesters have also held rallies in Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

How bad was the violence?

The Catalan government said more than 800 people had been injured in clashes across the region. Those figures included people who had suffered relatively minor complaints such as anxiety attacks.

The Spanish interior ministry said 12 police officers had been hurt and three people arrested. It added that 92 polling stations had been closed.

In Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station where Mr Puigdemont was due to vote, and forcibly removed those inside. Mr Puigdemont voted at another station.

The BBC’s Tom Burridge in Barcelona witnessed police being chased away from one polling booth after they had raided it.

TV footage showed riot police using batons to beat a group of firefighters who were protecting crowds in Girona.

The national police and Guardia Civil - a military force charged with police duties - were sent into Catalonia in large numbers to prevent the vote.

The Catalan police - the Mossos d’Esquadra - have been placed under Madrid’s control, however witnesses said they showed little inclination to use force on protesters.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau condemned police actions against the region’s “defenceless” population, but Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police had “acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way”.

How much voting took place?

Catalan authorities said 319 of about 2,300 polling stations across the region had been closed by police while the Spanish government said 92 stations had been closed.

Since Friday, thousands of people have occupied schools and other buildings designated as polling stations in order to keep them open.

Many of those inside were parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on Friday and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.

Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture.

It also has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognised as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.

What happens next?

Analysis: Tom Burridge, BBC News, Barcelona

Spain’s complicated relationship with the region of Catalonia is headed for the unknown.

After violence by Spanish police, a declaration of independence by Catalonia’s regional government seems more likely than ever before.

Overnight Catalonia’s government claimed a turnout of 2.2 million people - not far off half of the electorate. It also said that 90% voted “yes” for independence from Spain.

But given the chaotic nature of the vote, all figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. On Monday the government in Madrid will hold talks with Spanish parties to discuss a response to the biggest political crisis this country has seen in decades.


Revival of the syndicalist republic of Catalonia!

Spanish nationalists have oppressed the Catalonians all the way since the 1800’s granting only brief periods of autonomy during the Spanish Civil War.


Momma Merkel is upset. A refugee could have possibly been injured when Spanish police went on a head clubbing drill at the polls in Catalonia.


A new country is born. I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen.


Catalonia is why the 2nd Amendment is necessary. Gun rights are not put in place for hunting or to stop home invaders. Gun rights provide the individual the ability to fight tyrants and secure the individual liberty guaranteed by birth right.


I am ambivalent on the Catalonia Referendum. I am a huge proponent of self determination, but, I did hear that Soros is funding the Catalonia Rebellion.


I seem to recall Crimean’s voting in the 90% range for independence a few years ago.


Maybe there is more to this Catalonian movement than meet the eye. Its like the California of Spain, except when it gains is independence, will be met with welcome arms and money from the islamic states. Sort of like how the US invested in S. Korea and Japan. California, on the other hand, would just sink under its own governance population while the earth fault line get active again.

Yes, I am typing this while sipping a soy latte at a local starbuck.


Yea… instead of the cops keeping them out of the polls… they were rounding them up at gun point. The ‘referendum’ was called for 10 days after a parliament vote… no international observers… Russian separatists in uniforms with no insignias raising hell and the Prime Minister, also Russian calls for Russian ‘help’. All of that ‘help’ arrived just in time for the referendum.

Now, don’t get me wrong… the US was most certainly in the middle of elections not unlike the accusations about Russia today but that ‘referendum’ was a best run on fear and at worst with a lot of arm twisting…


I grew up in Spain, mostly under Franco. My mother’s family supported and fought for the Republic and lost. Franco and his government was horrible to both the Catalans and the Basques who by large majorities supported the Spanish democratic Republic. Political suppression was the order of the day. Franco’s suppressions of their languages, in the name of national unity, did more to keep those languages alive than active support would have. It was defiance, plain and simple that kept them alive. Those languages were dying out until he started their crackdown.

There is also resentment toward Cataluña by the other regions. While the other regions including Galicia and Valencia also have their own languages, they are bilingual. The street signs are both in Castilian and the regional language. While it may be true that Cataluña is wealthier than other regions, much of it wealth has come to it through association with the Spanish Nation, something the separatist will not acknowledge. I heard plenty of rumblings during the 92 Barcelona Olympics which were mostly funded by the Spanish national government, but the Catalan flag was seen much more than national flag during the event. That was a warning of where matters were heading.

Historically, Cataluña was part of the Kingdom of Aragon. Under Fernando y Isabella, the nations were united under a single crown by their descendant Carlos I starting in 1504 after the death of Fernando el Catolico.

Rayol and the PP is run the descendants and friends of Franco’s cabinet. Their hamfisted idiocy will lead to that large region caving off with Las Vascongadas following. Rayol is following Franco’s playbook, which will lead to terrorism and possibly civil war. They have not learned that you cannot force anyone to stay with you, but like all relationships, you have compromise and convince them that it is their interest to stay.


Rafael Catalá, Spain’s justice minister, warned Monday morning that the central government in Madrid was prepared to use its emergency powers to prevent a unilateral declaration of independence. Under Spanish law, the government could suspend Mr. Puigdemont from office, and take full administrative control of Catalonia.


To be fair, the United States didn’t let the Confederacy wander off either. It’s really rare for a country to peacefully allow itself to fragment, absent really strange circumstances. It does happen, as shown in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but it’s not the norm. Much more likely to see a Yugoslavia situation.


Secession is a natural right. Without the right to secede we are all slaves.


Now that’s funny language right there considering the southern states primary purpose for attempting succession.


This thread is about Spain and Catalonia. Yes, @Southern is correct that it is a natural right of man to secede. This secession though is manufactured by Soros. I’m not sure why since Spain is a left wing hellhole and Catalonia is as well. There is probably a terror connection somewhere.


Wow, all that without a single shred of evidence and the back hand to the 90% of the residents that actually want their independence.


The Spanish King and EU have rejected the democratic vote in Catalonia - that’s OK as they can just vote them both out? Oh.

Hang on - maybe if the Catalans decide to let Muslims takeover & become a mini-European gangster state, the EU will recognise & even go to war for them. Like Kosovo.


I hate to revive an old thread, but interesting things are happening, and Spain, at the moment, seems to be resisting the European rightward lurch to mindless nationalism and authoritarianism as well as confronting corruption. It is an interesting story as to how coalitions can be built to do what I consider the right thing, although to many that coalition looks fragile. I put in a link to a good summary of the situation that is in Foreign Policy with a short section of it in italics.

As I said, I think there are some interesting and hopeful things to be observed. It has even caused me to decide that I am a Spain supporter for the World Cup - a real drama where they fired their manager a few days before the competition began. I suppose that weakens my case about Spanish common sense in governance, but then, futbol is perhaps even more laden with emotion than politics.

In addition to managing Catalan separatism, Sánchez seems keen to show a more progressive and tolerant face to the world, presenting Spain as a modern, egalitarian country comfortable with its social and cultural diversity. He has already appointed a government in which women run almost two-thirds of the ministries — the highest proportion in Europe. He also jumped at the opportunity to contrast Spain’s new government with Italy’s new populist leaders.


As opposed to the very mindful push of two tier egalitarianism… Perhaps you can define just why nationalism is inherently bad… I seem to remember that democracies don’t fight with each other… Oh and by the way, Spain’s national health care isn’t so healthy and ‘jumping at the opportunity’ to distress it further will not end well for the Spanish people…


Why? Old threads are good topics…especially when current circumstances relate to them. Thanks for reviving it.

If Catalans voted for independence, there must be a good reason for it.