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Catalonia's bid to leave Spain is nothing new

04 Octubre 2017

They arrived with their sleeping bags late Saturday, regular Catalonians ready to defy judicial orders and occupy polling stations in and around Barcelona to ensure a referendum on Catalan independence would go ahead.

Those who participated in Sunday's ballot voted overwhelmingly for independence, a result Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said is valid and must be implemented.

"I would say this is my most difficult spell in the national team due to everything that is happening and I think it will be difficult to sort out the Pique situation", Busquets told Cadena Ser.

With a game against Las Palmas held on the same day as the referendum, FC Barcelona officials wanted to postpone the match but were denied by the Spanish league. "Today there has not been a self-determination referendum in Catalonia", he said on Sunday night.

As Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform, said on Twitter, whatever the rights and wrongs, the Spanish government "has lost the international PR battle through heavy-handed behavior". "Every agreement we made they broke", said Jordi Fabrega, mayor of the town of Sant Pere de Torello, which symbolically declared independence from Spain in 2012.

But protest rallies have been taking place across Catalonia.

"It would be the EU that offers to mediate talks to reach an agreement which, I insist, would include Catalonia's independence", ANC spokesman Adria Alsina said.

Atletico Madrid star Koke also admitted the saga is proving tiresome but is confident the team will have the support of the crowd when they face Albania in Alicante on Friday.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

"We strongly condemn the violence carried out by the state's security forces to impede the 1 October referendum", said a 44-strong group of organisations, including leading unions, in calling the strike. None of the club's professional or youth teams will practice Tuesday, and the club's headquarters will be closed.

The BBC's Patrick Jackson spoke to people in Barcelona to gauge their reaction to events.

The European Parliament has also been solidly on the side of Spain.

With 95% of the vote counted, authorities said the "yes" vote stood at 90.1%, on a turnout of 2.26-million of 5.34-million voters. Yet the Financial Times reports that tensions are rising in cabinet, with senior ministers saying the post-Brexit transition period should last longer than the limits Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wants to impose.

Others were guided by leftist theater troupes and union longshoremen from the Barcelona port. There were anarchists and families with children in strollers.

This so-called nuclear option could reignite unrest in a region where secessionists are invoking the name of the late dictator Francisco Franco in describing Rajoy's tactics. Catalan authorities provide heath care, run their schools and police their streets.

Four were hospitalised, two in serious condition - a 70-year-old man had a heart attack and another man was hurt in the eye.

Catalonia's bid to leave Spain is nothing new