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European Commission says Catalonia vote was illegal

European Commission says Catalonia vote was illegal

Many Catalans huddled over their cellphones Monday on Barcelona's metro, replaying videos of Spanish police raids on polling stations a day earlier. Consequently, the Government that I preside over will present today's results to the Parliament of Catalonia, where the sovereignty of our people resides, so it can proceed in accordance with the referendum law.

The European Union and most of its 28 nations have not backed Catalonia's independence movement.

The U.N. commissioner, who said he was "very disturbed by the violence", urged leaders from Madrid and Catalonia to resolve the independence dispute "through political dialogue, with full respect for democratic freedoms", and called on the Spanish government "to accept without delay the requests by relevant U.N. human rights experts to visit".

The Spanish government is refusing to recognise its legality, deeming it unconstitutional.

With 7.5 million residents, Catalonia has its own language and culture, which were repressed during the almost 40-year dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.

Catalonia, with the vibrant city of Barcelona as its capital, represents a fifth of Spain's economy.

The statement came after a violent crackdown by Spanish police who tried to stop a referendum on independence Sunday in Catalonia. TV footage showed riot police using batons to beat a group of firefighters who were protecting crowds in Gerona. Officials said more than 890 civilians and some 430 members of the police force were injured. 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.

Thirty-three police officers were injured on Sunday, Catalan medical officials said.

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However, while Catalan officials say nearly 90% of voters backed independence, turn out was relatively low at a reported 42%, potentially weakening Mr Puigdemont's position.

A jubilant Puigdemont said his people had "won the right to an independent state" and urged the European Union to stop looking "the other way". "This is not a domestic issue". He said it was "obvious that we need mediation", adding: "We don't want a traumatic break".

On Sunday, Catalonia held the referendum on independence from Spain. Us Catalans have earned the right to be heard.

Rajoy did not call Monday.

Cheers rung out in Catalonia as the independence vote count began.

Spanish media reported that police confiscated some of the banners, including one which described Pique as "sickening". The Catalan regional government's unilateral call for a secession referendum highlighted a notoriously knotty contradiction in global governance, that between the principle of self-determination and political unity.

Puigdemont had gone ahead with the referendum in defiance of a court order. It has never been invoked.

Centre-back Pique, who voted in the referendum and has criticised police violence against voters which resulted in hundreds of injuries, has always been targeted by Spain fans but the latest barrage of insults was particularly severe.

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