Catalan independence referendum: ‘Catalonia has won the right to statehood’, says region’s President

The leader of the Catalan government has said the region has won the “right to statehood” following its referendum on independence which was marred by violent clashes.

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan President, said Catalonia “has won the right to become an independent state.” 

Speaking on television from Barcelona after polling stations had closed in the northeastern region in Spain, Mr Puigdemont said “today the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia.”

Meanwhile, the main grassroots separatist group in Catalonia is urging the regional government to declare independence from Spain after the violent police crackdown on Sunday’s independence referendum

Jordi Sanchez, leader of secessionist group ANC, tells a large crowd in Barcelona’s main square he hopes that “very soon we will see the birth of a new Catalan state.” 

Mr Sanchez warns local leaders “Now, don’t let us down …The moment of truth has arrived.” 

“What the police are doing is simply savage,” he said. “It’s an international scandal.”

He said Spain has become “the shame of Europe” with its iron-fist tactics. 

Mr Puigdemont had vowed to declare independence with 48 hours if the “Yes” side wins Sunday’s disputed vote. But there was no campaign for the “No” side before the vote was suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

Authorities say 844 people and 33 police were injured Sunday in Spanish police raids to halt the vote. 

The Spanish Interior Ministry says 19 members of the National Police and 14 Civil Guard were hurt when police smashed their way into polling stations on Sunday. Catalan health services say 761 people were injured, two seriously, by police who used batons and rubber bullets against voters. 

Police closed 319 polling stations out of some 2,300, according to Catalan authorities. 

Spain’s Constitutional court had suspended the vote but separatist leaders…

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