Spain: "The catalan risk losing all the credit"

Spain:

Catalan is Spain's richest region and has its own language, police force and parliament. Spain's Constitutional Court prohibited the ballot, siding with Madrid which argued that it contravened the country's 1978 constitution which bars breaking up the country.

"Catalans have always been pacifists and will always be", she said, "but we are standing up!"

"We are going through hard and complicated moments and, with respect to what could happen in the future, we will take it on with calm and wisdom".

But Catalan leaders claimed the results showed the region had the right to secede and said they may unilaterally declare independence.

Turnout was relatively low at a reported 42 percent, potentially weakening the position of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Today's general strike was called by major unions, including the famous FC Barcelona soccer team, although two national unions refused to call on their members in Catalonia to join it.

He said: "We thank both of them for their dedication during all their years of service to the club".

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Catalonia will declare independence from Spain within days, the region's president has said. Spain's conservative government has said it will respond with "all necessary measures" to counter Catalan defiance, and is holding talks with opposition leaders to forge a consensus over what to do in response. The escalating conflict is being described as the biggest constitutional crisis in Spain since the end of the Franco dictatorship in the 1970s. Some 900 people were injured on polling day when police fired rubber bullets and charged at crowds with truncheons to disrupt the vote.

In Barcelona, hundreds of students gathered in a central square to protest at Sunday's police crackdown, chanting pro-independence slogans and waving Catalan flags.

Spain's National Court on Wednesday said it will quiz two senior officers of Catalonia's regional police force and the leaders of two pro-Catalan independence civic groups who have been placed under investigation for sedition.

On Monday, the European Commission also said the Catalonian referendum was illegal but that it was an "internal matter for Spain".

During an emergency debate on Spain's worst political crisis in decades, the leaders of the three main political blocs in the European Parliament all warned against such a move, saying it would inflame an already volatile situation still further. Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont said almost 900 people had received medical attention on Sunday, though regional authorities confirmed a total of 92 injured.

Mr Timmermans said while it was understandable that people wanted to express their views, "one opinion is not more valuable than another because it is expressed more loudly".

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