The Latest: Catalonia: 90 percent vote for independence

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BARCELONA, Spain — The Latest on Catalonia’s referendum Sunday on breaking away from Spain (all times local):

12:40 a.m.

A Catalan official says preliminary results show 90 percent in favor of independence in the vote 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. At least 844 people and 33 police were injured in the police raids.

The region has 5.3 million voters.


12:10 a.m. Monday

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has condemned the police violence in Spain that marred Sunday’s disputed referendum on independence for Catalonia.

Maduro says on his weekly television program that Spanish police carried out “a brutal repression” of would-be voters. He says Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy “must answer to the world about what has happened in Catalonia.”

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.

Maduro’s government has been accused by the opposition and the U.S. and other governments of brutally attacking its own people during protests. Rajoy’s government has pushed for further EU sanctions on Venezuelan officials.


11:30 p.m.

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.

The CCOO union says it has called the strike “to condemn the violence employed by security forces of the state to stop the referendum.” The union has also called for protests Monday at noon in front of town halls across Catalonia.

Jordi Cuixart, leader of separatist group Omnium, also urged a general strike in Catalonia on Tuesday.

At least 844 people and 33 police were injured as Spanish police tried to halt the vote that was suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court.


11 p.m.

Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont says he will keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally if the “Yes” side wins Sunday’s disputed referendum on secession from Spain.

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. The region has 5.3 million voters.

Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended that law, but Puigdemont’s government pushed ahead with the vote anyway. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported injured as Spanish police tried to halt the vote.


10:55 p.m.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont says 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, Puigdemont said “today the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia.”

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across Catalonia to try and stop Sunday’s referendum on independence, sometimes beating and kicking voters. Spain’s top court had suspended the vote but local authorities went ahead anyway. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported injured in the raids.

Puigdemont says “I will make a direct appeal to the European Union” to look into alleged human rights violations by the Spanish government on Sunday.


10:30 p.m.

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.”

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

Catalan President Carles 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.


10:15 p.m.

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.

The Socialists’ 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.

He condemned Rajoy’s cabinet for ordering the police charges against voters to halt the suspended referendum, but said he would stand by Rajoy, his political rival, in order to support the stability of Spain in a moment of deep crisis.

Sanchez said the vote “consecrates the Catalan government’s flight forward, creating solely division and not providing any solution.”


10:15 p.m.

Spain’s Interior Ministry says 33 police officers were hurt when they carried out raids to try to stop an independence referendum in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

The 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 in Catalonia went ahead with the vote anyway.


10 p.m.

Judges in Spain’s region of Catalonia will investigate the Catalan regional police for allegedly disobeying court orders to stop Sunday’s referendum on independence.

The highest court in the region says six different courts have said they will investigate different cases of the regional police not acting to stop the vote that had been suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Agents from Spain’s two national police forces, the Civil Guard and the National Police, carried out raids to confiscate ballot boxes and close some polling stations. Authorities say 761 people and 11 police were hurt Sunday in those police raids.

The Catalan police were seen limiting their participation to warning voters that they needed to leave the school polling stations that they were occupying overnight.


9 p.m.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insists there has been no independence vote in Catalonia.

In a television address after polls closed Sunday in the northeastern region, Rajoy said the great majority of Catalans did not “follow the script of the secessionists.” He gave no proof for that statement.

Rajoy said the independence referendum only served to sow divisions. He thanked the Spanish police, saying they acted with “firmness and serenity” in response to the referendum.

Catalonia’s health services, however, say 761 people were injured by police on Sunday, with two of them in serious condition.

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across Catalonia to try and stop Sunday’s referendum, sometimes beating voters. Spain’s top court had suspended the vote but local authorities went ahead anyway.


8:45 p.m.

Catalonia’s health services have increased the number of people injured by police during Sunday’s disputed referendum to 761 people who were treated at hospitals.

The service says two people are in serious condition in hospitals in Barcelona. It also says that another person is being treated for an eye injury that fits the profile of having been hit by a rubber bullet.

Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations across the northeastern region to try and stop Sunday’s referendum on independence. Spain’s top court had suspended the vote but local authorities went ahead anyway.

Police used batons, fired rubber bullets, and roughed up voters. Catalan authorities say police even used tear gas once.


8:20 p.m.

Voting stations are closing in Catalonia after a tumultuous referendum on independence from Spain.

At one voting station in Barcelona, in the Joan Miro school, applause broke out Sunday night after 8 p.m. as it was announced that voting had ended. Volunteers opened the plastic ballot boxes, turned them over and started sorting the ballots. The “yes” pile was many times bigger than the “no” pile.

Joan Maria Pique, spokesman for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, says that polling stations are closing except at those where people are still waiting to vote.


8:15 p.m.

Spain’s foreign minister says the violence seen Sunday as police tried to prevent people from voting in Catalonia in a banned independence referendum was “unfortunate” and “unpleasant” but “proportionate.”

In an interview with The Associate Press, Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis blamed the violence exclusively on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his regional government.

Dastis says “if people insist in disregarding the law and doing something that has been consistently declared illegal and unconstitutional, law enforcement officers need to uphold the law.”

Officials say at least 465 people and 11 police were injured Sunday. Videos showed police roughing up voters, who tried to shield themselves from blows.

Dastis says, however, “it was a proportionate use of force, there was no excessive violence and it was a reaction to the situation they were faced with when they were prevented from doing their job.”


7:55 p.m.

Barcelona’s mayor is calling on Spain’s conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign after Spanish riot police were seen beating and kicking people in their efforts to shut down a vote on independence for the northeastern region of Catalonia.

Mayor Ada Colau told TV3 that “Rajoy has been a coward, hiding behind the prosecutors and courts. Today he crossed all the red lines with the police actions against normal people, old people, families who were defending their fundamental rights.”

She adds that “It seems obvious to me that Mariano Rajoy should resign.”

Colau also says, after the violence Sunday, Catalonia has “earned the right to demand” a proper vote on independence from Spain. She says “the European Union must take a stand on what has happened in Catalonia.”

Officials say at least 465 people and 11 police were injured Sunday.


7:25 p.m.

Catalonia’s pro-independence regional government says Spain is “the shame of Europe” for the way it has cracked down on the region’s bid to hold a secession referendum

Government spokesman Jordi Turull says “what the police are doing is simply savage, it’s an international scandal.”

The Catalan government’s health service says 465 people have been treated in hospitals following clashes Sunday with police who were ordered by a regional judge to prevent the independence referendum from taking place. Turull said two of the injured were in serious condition.

He said “Today, Spain is the shame of Europe.”

Turull said that despite police actions “the trend we are seeing is that millions have voted,” adding that a recount of votes would take some time. He said police had closed 319 polling stations out of some 2,300.


7:15 p.m.

On the streets of Madrid there are mixed reactions to the Spanish government’s crackdown on the independence referendum in Catalonia, where police were seen beating and kicking voters as they confiscated ballots.

Francisco Lopez, 53, said the authorities’ use of force to stop the voting was justified. He says “when there is an unlawful act, the security forces are there to prevent this unlawful act.”

Jose Daniel Rodríguez, a 67-year-old university teacher, disagreed, saying the Spanish government should have let the vote go ahead. He says “in a democratic society, everyone has the right to express themselves.”

Others called for both sides to resolve the situation through negotiations, not police operations.

Ignacio Osorio, 51, says “I believe that from today we have to sit and talk, without conditions.”


6:15 p.m.

An amateur video filmed by a voter in Barcelona shows Spanish police kicking, beating and pulling people by the hair in clashes that took place as they tried to stop a referendum on independence in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

The video, acquired by the Associated Press, show National Police officers pulling and pushing people down a stairway at the Pau Claris School in the Sant Marti neighborhood Sunday. At one point, it shows an officer jumping down the steps and apparently stomping on a person on the floor.

One person can be seen being pulled by the hair and others kicked on the ground. People can be heard screaming wildly and shouting “Out!” at the officers.

The person that filmed the video said voters were simply sitting and trying to slow the police operation down. She said she saw no provocations. She asked for her name not to be published.

__ Iain Sullivan.


5:15 p.m.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau says more than 460 people have been injured in Catalonia in clashes with Spanish police who trying to prevent a referendum on independence from taking place in the northeastern region.

Colau said Sunday that as mayor of the city, she demands “an immediate end to police charges against the defenseless population.”

Police have baton-charged and fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds in Barcelona and other towns and cities. Videos have showed them beating people repeatedly as they try to confiscate ballots and ballot boxes.

In addition to the protesters and voters injured, Spain’s Interior Ministry says 11 police officers have been injured fulfilling judicial orders to prevent the referendum on independence.


5 p.m.

Barcelona’s soccer game against Las Palmas has gone ahead without fans in attendance at the Camp Nou stadium amid the disputed referendum on Catalonia’s independence.

Barcelona made the announcement that the match would be played behind closed doors with less than a half hour to kickoff, with thousands of soccer fans already waiting outside the stadium.

Barcelona wanted the game to be postponed, but it said that the Spanish league refused to accept its request.


4:50 p.m.

Scotland’s leader has appealed to Spain to “change course,” amid violence shown in television images in Catalonia following the disputed independence referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Sunday on her Twitter feed that she was increasingly concerned by the images, which have shown police smashing into polling stations and roughing up voters. Police also fired rubber bullets. Hundreds of people were injured, including 11 police officers.

Sturgeon says that “regardless of views on independence, we should all condemn the scenes being witnessed.”

Sturgeon called on Spain “to change course before someone is seriously hurt. Let people vote peacefully.”

The vote is of particular interest in Scotland, which held its own referendum on independence in 2014. The vote, which ended with a vote to remain in the United Kingdom, featured heated debate but was peaceful.


4:30 p.m.

Spain’s interior Ministry says police have closed 79 of about 2,300 polling stations that the Catalan government has authorized to stage its referendum on independence in northeastern Catalonia.

The ministry said Sunday that police, who are under orders to prevent the referendum from taking place, arrested three people, one a minor, for disobedience and assaulting officers.

It said 34 of the voting centers closed were in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. A regional court last week ordered police to close all the polling stations.

Earlier Sunday, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull said that voting was underway in 96 percent of the voting centers.

The Spanish government says no referendum has taken place.

The ministry said 11 police officers were slightly injured in disturbances. Catalan officials say 337 people have been injured, some seriously, in clashes with police.


4:15 p.m.

Belgium’s prime minister has called for political dialogue in Spain amid a police crackdown on voting during the Catalonia independence referendum.

Charles Michel also condemned all forms of aggression, tweeting that “violence can never be the answer!”

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