Catalonia is geographically a small part of Spain. But it is a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in the relatively isolated north-eastern Spain and separate culture.
And they have declared independence from Spain.
In what has been declared an illegal referendum by the Spanish government, Catalan officials said that 90% of those who participated Sunday, voted for independence. 42% of eligible voters participated in the referendum.
The vote was marred by demonstrations and violence, over 800 people have been injured in clashes across the region according to the Catalan government. The National Police had been sent to prevent the vote, and 319 of about 2,300 polling stations were closed. Vidoe footage showed riot police beating a group of firefighters who were protecting crowds in Girona.
“With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic,” Carles Puigdemont former journalist and current President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. In a previous statement, he said that if the referendum were successful he would declare independence within 48 hours of the vote.
“My government, in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.”
More than 40 unions and group Catalonia have called a strike on Tuesday to protest today’s “grave violation of rights.”
Editor’s note: This could be big trouble in this area. The Spanish government in Madrid will not sit still for part of their country seceding. The range of reactions could be anything from civil war to capitulation.