Catalan leader calls for global mediation

Spain's Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said Madrid would "take all necessary measures" to stop the "intolerable harassment" of national security forces.

Despite the referendum result, any attempt to unitaterally declare independence is likely to be opposed not only by Madrid, but also by many in the Catalan population, which is deeply divided on the issue.

He spoke after hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied in fury over violence by police against voters during a banned referendum on independence for their region on Sunday.

The European Commission insisted on an end to the violence and for both sides to engage in talks to diffuse the situation.

Pique has been an outspoken defender of the wealthy north-eastern Spanish region's right to self-determination and cast his vote in the independence referendum on Sunday morning.

In a tweet, it said 844 people "required medical attention", though it was unclear how many of those were subsequently discharged and how many were actually injured.

The referendum law foresees a declaration of independence soon after a "yes" vote but it remains unclear if the regional government will actually do so.

The leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, told a news conference Monday that global mediation is needed to resolve the dispute.

Authorities donned riot gear, confiscated ballot boxes, shot residents with rubber bullets and dragged voters from the polls.

By Sunday night, almost 2.3 million of the region's 5.3 million voters had cast ballots. He said Catalonia had "won the right to become an independent state".

The 31-year-old, who grew up and lives on the Balearic island of Mallorca but is also a Catalan speaker, said he had watched events of the weekend unfold "with concern and sadness".

"I want to highlight (to all of the citizens of Catalonia) that we live in a democratic state where anyone can defend their ideas, within their respect for the law".

  • Leroy Wright