In Catalonia, Puigdemont calls for global mediation

Earlier, as voting ended, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote.

Spain was braced for further political upheaval Wednesday after Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont said the region would declare independence "in a matter of days".

"I think in any democracy there has to be surely a legal way for people to express their view and therefore there should be a process of dialogue that allows Catalonia and the Spanish Government to decide the way forward here".

Catholic leaders voiced pleas for peace after a Catalonian regional referendum vote on secession from Spain drew a strong police reaction.

The king's reaction was "a mistake from every point of view", Turull said in an interview on the regional government's TV channel. I want to speak directly to all of the Spanish people.

Catalonia's government said that of the 2.2 million voters who were able to vote - two million voted for independence. "The situation of violence we have experienced today in Catalonia is deplorable", Cardinal Juan Omella of Barcelona said October 2.

Before the vote, polls indicated that a minority of around 40 percent of the region's total 7.5 million Catalans supported independence, but many opposed to the referendum did not participate. Spain says it will recognize neither the results of the referendum nor a declaration of independence.

Tuesday's interview was Puigdemont's first since Sunday's vote, during which Madrid deployed riot police to prevent residents from casting their ballots.

The commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union, said in a Twitter message that "these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation". "I obviously feel very Spanish, but I also feel very close to the Catalans", he added.

He also accused the grassroots groups driving the independence bid, the National Catalan Assembly and Omnium Cultural, and pro-independence mayors of "plotting to break the law".

Puigdemont's comments come after a largely symbolic referendum on independence was held in Catalonia last Sunday.

  • Leroy Wright