December 16 2017

In Catalonia, Puigdemont calls for global mediation

December 16 2017, 03:06 | Van Peters

Russian Senator Slams Western 'Hypocrisy' Over Catalonia Violence

Barcelona match played behind closed doors after vote clashes

United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was "very disturbed" by the unrest while EU President Donald Tusk urged Madrid to avoid "further use of violence".

"We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this hard process", he said, adding that Sunday's referendum was "not legal". Before the government crackdown began, separatist leaders said they would be comfortable declaring independence with about 1.8 million votes.

After calls for Barcelona's La Liga game against Las Palmas on Sunday to be postponed because of the political climate, it went ahead but was played behind closed doors at the Camp Nou.

The European Parliament will hold a special debate on Wednesday on the issue.

Clashes left at least 92 people confirmed injured out of a total of 844 who needed medical attention, according to Catalan authorities.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had the law largely on his side, but Barcelona now has the television images and the solidarity and sympathy they generate, leaving the prime minister looking like an intransigent bully and rendering any possible political resolution of the conflict more remote.

Economically it is impossible to predict if it could survive. More than 800 Catalonians were injured by Spanish riot police.

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". The feeling is that the declaration would be a symbolic one.

What is incomprehensible about the Spanish government's handling of this crisis was that the vote had absolutely no legally binding authority.

Catalonia, with the vibrant city of Barcelona as its capital, represents a fifth of Spain's economy. The constitution's Article 155 allows the government to suspend, totally or partially, any region' self-government if it disobeys its constitutional obligations or attacks the general interests of Spain.

The clash puts Rajoy in a tight corner.

Catalan leaders accused Spanish police of brutality and repression while the Spanish government praised the security forces for behaving firmly and proportionately. Polls consistently show that while most of its 7.5 million inhabitants favoured a referendum, they are roughly evenly split on independence from Spain.

Neither option is likely to happen overnight.

He accused the ruling conservative Popular Party of "using all means at its disposal to lie, because over these years they've said that it was a small minority and that we demonstrated in a rowdy manner".

Of the 28 European Union member states, all but Spain and four others have recognized Kosovo's sovereignty.

"They were beating people with flowers in their hands", he said.

Spain can also, as it has before, say that it has the right to take action in the region "under the law" because Catalonia has violated the law. The Catalan government said its right to self-determination must be respected first before talks could proceed.

Puidgemont appealed on Monday for worldwide mediation to help solve the crisis, and called for all police sent in to Catalonia for the vote to be removed.

Other news