Catalan leader opens door to unilateral declaration of independence

After a day of tensions in Catalonia where police were deployed in a failed attempt to thwart an independence vote, the head of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, speaks out against the violence with a pointed address: ‘On this day of hope and suffering, Catalonia’s citizens have earned the right to have an independent state in the form of a republic … We have earned the right to be listened to, respected and recognised’.

At least 893 people and 33 police officers were reported to have been hurt on Sunday after riot police stormed polling stations, dragging out voters and firing rubber bullets into crowds.

Puigdemont’s government has claimed that 90% of those who took part voted for independence, but the Catalan leader’s call for mediation could suggest a shift in strategy as he had previously said that independence would be declared within 48 hours of a victory for the yes campaign.

(via The Guardian)