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Monday 16 July 2018

Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy said there was no independence vote in Catalonia

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A man is applauded by people outside a polling station after casting his vote for the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

Sasha Brady

Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address there was no independence vote on Sunday in Catalonia.

Speaking at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, the prime minister declared that "there was no independence referendum in Catalonia today".

He delivered the live televised address after violence broke out in Catalonia in what the government called an "illegal" referendum.

"At this time I can tell you, with full clarity, what you all know and what we have seen today,’ he said.

"Today, we have not had a referendum for self-determination in Catalonia.

"Today, all the Spaniards have seen that our state rule of law keeps its strength and reality, and restricts those who wish to subvert the state of law, and acts with all the legal resources, vis a vis all provocations, and does it with efficacy and in a serene way."

In Barcelona, crowds gathered to watch his speech on a big screen.

When Mr Rajoy reported that the majority of people did not want to participate in a referendum, they reacted with anger.

In the press conference, he blamed unrest on the Catalan government and called the referendum "a process that has only served to sow division, to confront citizens and to provoke unwanted situations".

He thanked the Spanish police for defending the law and thanked the EU for its support.

A man is applauded by people outside a polling station after casting his vote for the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso
A man is applauded by people outside a polling station after casting his vote for the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

"We cannot allow the progress of the past 40 years to be replaced by blackmail.

"Today we all have reasons to trust our democracy. This only served to hurt our coexistence. I offer dialogue within the law."

At least 761 people were injured in clashes between voters and Spanish police on Sunday.

Security forces reportedly used rubber bullets and baton charges as they clashed with protesters.

Earlier this summer, Catalan regional parliament approved a referendum on independence, agreeing the question on the ballot paper would read: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”.

But the Spanish government in Madrid argues such a vote is illegal based on the 1978 Spanish Constitution, which calls for the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation.”

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