12:55 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures during a news conference after his traditional summer meeting with King Felipe at Marivent Palace in Palma, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Spain, August 7, 2017

    Spain's PM Reportedly Claims There Was No Independence Vote in Catalonia Today

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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)
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    Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reportedly claimed Catalans were fooled and there was no independence vote in Catalonia today.

    According to him, most of the regions' residents did not want to participate in the referendum.

    "Today there has been no referendum on self-determination," Rajoy told a news conference.

    He also recalled that Catalan leaders knew the vote was illegal, but continued with the move. Rajoy urged them to stop 'walking down a path that leads to nowhere.' 

    Rajoy also stated that Spain's government would not refuse a dialogue with local authorities, but always within a legal framework.

    Commenting on police violence during the vote, he stated that he would thank the law enforcement services for carrying out their duties, as they acted in defense of the law.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with her Spanish counterpart regarding the violence of Madrid's police aiming to prevent the holding of an independence referendum.

    As early as Friday night, some activists and local families came with children to polling stations at schools to prevent police from shutting them down before the referendum. However, according to Spanish police, on Saturday over 1,300 schools out of 2,315 were sealed.

    Catalans held their independence vote on Sunday. The Spanish government called the referendum bill adopted by the Catalan parliament on September 6 illegal and challenged the legislation in the Constitutional Court, which resulted in the law's suspension — making all the preparations for the referendum illegal.

    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)
    independence referendum, Mariano Rajoy, Catalonia, Spain