2.2 mn ballots cast vote, 90% favour independence — Catalonia referendum

To the extent it succeeded in undermining Sunday's referendum, it may have won the battle but lost the war.

Spain is a "friend and ally" of Ireland, he said - adding that he was "distressed" by the scenes of violence.

"What we saw in the country yesterday is unacceptable". From a purely logistical point of view, it was a partial success. They have prevented people from voting who want independence; however, they also prevented those who wanted to vote 'No' to independence and were against independence like themselves.

Secessionists have long argued that Catalonia - whose economy is larger than Portugal's and generates about a fifth of Spain's total GDP - gives way more than it gets.

From Paris to Bratislava, EU members echoed the same phrasing as they publicly closed ranks behind Madrid, though in private some diplomats voiced concern at Madrid's hardline handling of the crisis.

As Pique acknowledged, Barca is, always has been, and always will be "more than just a club" for its Catalan supporters, a means of expression and a form of identity.

He requested the "withdrawal of all police forces deployed to Catalonia for these acts of repression". Its famous motto that it is 'mes que un club' - more than a club - is apt, and never more so than now.

The commission said in a Twitter message that "these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation".

The impasse developed after Catalan authorities decided to go ahead with Sunday's referendum even after Spain's Constitutional Court suspended it. "This will lead to more violence and probably an intervention from EU leaders, who will come under pressure to take action". The foundation is "devoted to ensuring that Catalan -- a persecuted and maltreated language - has its space in the digital world", according to a statement of protest posted on the foundation's website.

Emotions and disappointment aside - wouldn't it be a selfish thing to ask from a football club in the first place?

Spain's complicated relationship with the region of Catalonia is heading for the unknown.

The intervention by Spanish authorities and the clashes between voters and police have destabilised the political environment in Catalonia (a region in northeastern Spain which encompasses Barcelona).

Le Monde observed that Spain and the Catalan region were "diving into the unknown".

"One policeman put me in a headlock to drag me out, while I was holding my wife's hand!"

Giving up those aspirations seems unlikely, but the Guardian suggests that a unilateral declaration of independence might result in Madrid taking over Catalonia's regional government. While either of these options would remove the current Catalan leadership - which Madrid doesn't consider valid - from the equation, they would only lead to additional social unrest and potentially new episodes of violence.

Catalan officials say voters overwhelmingly backed secession, but Madrid refuses to recognise the poll.

In case Rajoy's cabinet decides to activate the article, the government must specify what concrete measures it plans to implement in the affected region and receive approval by the Senate's absolute majority. But Mr Rajoy has been widely criticised for his refusal, dating back several years, to negotiate on the Catalans' complaints over financing or over the referendum.

The European Parliament is now considering whether to have an emergency debate on the Catalonia crisis when it meets this week.

Any chance of proper negotiations between the two governments?

In fact, on Oct. 2, the EU Commission urged "all relevant players" in the referendum to "move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue". Attempts to hold a new referendum are likely to follow.

(Derechos de autor © 2015. Todos los derechos reservados.)

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