After days of violence, Catalonia votes in favour to split from Spain

Catalonian’s are celebrating a landmark outcome of votes to split from Spain with its government revealing that 2.26 million people cast ballots with 90% voting to gain independence in polls marred by violence.

Reports say voters defied a violent police crackdown and voted 90 percent in favour of breaking away after Catalonia’s regional leader Carles Puigdemont’s opened the door to a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain.

“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,” Puigdemont said in a televised address.

“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.”

Puigdemont’s comments followed a television address by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who ruled out independence and accused separatists of trying to “blackmail … the whole nation”. He offered all-party talks on the region’s future.

Despite Spanish police using batons and rubber bullets to disrupt the banned referendum, which was declared unconstitutional by Madrid, the Catalan government said 2.26 million people cast ballots, a turnout of about 42 percent.

Catalan officials say more than 800 people were injured in clashes with Spanish riot police during the referendum, which has pitched the country into its deepest constitutional crisis in decades and deepened a rift between Madrid and Barcelona.

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