23:53 GMT06 March 2021
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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

    Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala Polo said that Madrid will prevent Catalonia from seceding from Spain amid heightened tensions in the region from the highly contested referendum that was held on Sunday.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Catalan Government spokesman Jordi Turull said that 90 percent of Catalonia's population voted in favor of independence from Madrid. 

    "If someone thinks that it is possible to unilaterally declare independence, which is impossible since it does not correspond to [the established] competences, we need to do everything possible within the law to prevent it," Polo said in an interview with Spanish television.

    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said earlier on Monday that the parliament will make a decision on declaring independence within 24 hours after the results of the referendum. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that there was no referendum, whereas international observers at the referendum claim that the results of the vote should be recognized.

    Numerous clashes between the Spanish police and pro-independence activists resulted in injuries to at least 33 law enforcement officers and 893 civilians. Madrid's actions in Catalonia triggered criticism across Europe and prompted a reaction by rights groups. Carles Puigdemont said the Catalan government will set up a commission to investigate violations of citizens' rights during the referendum on Catalonia's independence.

    Puigdemont also called on law enforcement forces complicit in violations of citizens’ rights to withdraw from the region.

    The autonomous community Catalonia held the referendum on independence from Spain on Sunday. Over 90 percent of more than 2.26 million votes available for the count was in favor of secession from Spain, with the region's population exceeding 7.5 million.

    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)


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