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Catalan president calls for international mediation in crisis with Madrid

Ⓒ AFP – LLUIS GENE – | The independentist president of the Catalan region, Carles Puigdemont, October 2, 2017 in Barcelona

The Catalan president demanded on Monday an international mediation in the conflict between his region in Madrid and demanded the withdrawal of the forces of the order deployed by the central government to prevent the prohibited referendum of Sunday, enamelled by police violence.

To overcome the crisis with the Spanish government, “we need the presence of a third party, it must be international to be effective,” said Carles Puigdemont at a press conference in Barcelona, a “more relaxed climate”.

On Sunday, dozens of police and civilian guards intervened to seize the electoral material in the polling stations planned for the referendum on the independence of Catalonia, banned by the Constitutional Court.

To make their way through the crowds that had gathered in front of the offices in order to “protect” them, they acted with truncheons or anti-riot shields, including against the elderly.

Elsewhere, they used rubber bullets, according to witnesses interviewed by AFP.

The Catalan government has decided “to demand the withdrawal of all the police forces deployed in Catalonia because of this repression”, said Carles Puigdemont.

He assured that 893 people had sought medical assistance after the violence. Four are hospitalized and two are in critical condition.

The Catalan president said that “the electoral administration” is engaged in a race against the clock to finalize the counting of the results of the referendum.

According to his government, more than 2.26 million people participated, and nearly 2 million, “90%”, voted for independence.

The No side won 7.8% of the votes, but parties opposed to independence boycotted the referendum, saying it had no legitimacy.

The separatist government plans for the regional parliament to declare independence 48 hours after the official publication of the results.

Then he would embark on a phase of “transition”, to negotiate with Madrid his exit from Spain.

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