Catalonia: 90 percent vote for independence from Spain

Catalonia has voted in favor of seceding from Spain and establishing an independent state.  

The vast majority of the residents of Catalonia, 90 percent, have voted in favor of independence, a move opposed by Spain.

Catalan regional government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters early Monday that 90 percent of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted Sunday chose the ‘Yes’ side in favor of independence.

He said nearly 8 percent of voters rejected independence and the rest of the ballots were blank or void. He said 15,000 votes were still being counted.

Turull said the number of ballots didn’t include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids Sunday that aimed to stop the vote.

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across Catalonia to try and stop the referendum on independence. At least 844 people and 33 police were injured.

Only 40 percent of those eligible to vote realized their right, while many say they were blocked from doing so by Spanish police.

One of Spain’s two main two labor unions has called for a general strike in Catalonia on Tuesday to protest the police violence that marred Sunday’s disputed referendum on secession for the region.

A member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) observing Catalonia’s independence referendum says she was shocked by the use of rubber bullets by Spanish police against crowds of unarmed protesters.

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Ksenia Svetlova said  the bullets used “can squash somebody’s head.” She said she hadn’t expected to see such tactics used in Europe.

She said she saw people bleeding and injured on the scene.

Svetlova said that “we did expect a normal democratic process. We knew that a lot of police were here but still, you know, there should be a respect for the will of the people to vote regardless of what you think of the referendum.”

Svetlova says she was part of a delegation of about 30 people from other countries invited by Catalan regional officials to see the voting process.

The region has 5.3 million voters.

Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont says he will keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally.

In a televised address after polls closed, Puigdemont says Catalonia “has won the right to become an independent state.”

He said a law passed by the Catalan parliament says a win of more than 50 percent for the “Yes” side will trigger a declaration of independence within 48 hours of the vote regardless of the turnout.

Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended that law, but Puigdemont’s government pushed ahead with the vote anyway.

Spain’s main opposition leader says the vote held Sunday in Catalonia “has perverted the concept of democracy” and urged central authorities to begin negotiations with the regional Catalan leaders.

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The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party’s General Secretary, Pedro Sanchez, blamed the “serious institutional crisis” on both the national government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the regional Catalan government of Carles Puigdemont.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff