Catalans Strike and Block Roads to Protest Vote Crackdown by Spain

Rajoy says rule of law prevailed in Catalonia by blocking referendum

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy held emergency talks after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont declared on Sunday that Catalonia had "won the right to an independent state". Puigdemont is seeking worldwide mediation following the vote, saying he wants to reach an understanding with the Spanish government, and avoid a "traumatic break".

"There's no going back now... the days to come will be complicated, but we have to resist", David Peña, an activist in Catalonia, said.

Speaking in the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans reiterated the commission's view that the under Spanish constitution, Sunday's vote was not legal. The autonomous community held a referendum vote Sunday in which over 90 percent of the 2.3 million voters opted to break away from Spain.

The Spanish government "cannot ignore" the "very significant expression of support for independence" demonstrated by Catalonia's unofficial referendum, Scotland's First Minister has said.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club made the decision as a protest against the violent clashes rather than security concerns.

Meanwhile, Madrid comes under growing worldwide pressure to resolve its worst political crisis in decades.

The Catalan police - the Mossos d'Esquadra - have been placed under Madrid's control.

"These are hard times, but we will overcome them". During Spain's June friendly against Colombia in Murcia, a city in southeast Spain, he was jeered by supporters who oppose Catalonia independence.

Puigdemont said the vote was valid and binding, and that "we have to apply it".

He also said it was the duty of any Government to uphold the rule of law and sometimes that requires the "proportionate use of force".

Catalonia's regional government is mulling when to declare the region's independence from Spain in the wake of a disputed referendum that has triggered Spain's most serious national crisis in decades.

The movement's leaders had hoped the police crackdown might cause European leaders to take steps to intervene in the dispute with Spain's government.

"While that's the position of Spain, I understand that, you can not simply ignore the kind of strength of feeling that we've seen expressed".

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