Catalonia is ready to declare independence after hundreds of people were injured voting in a disputed referendum on Sunday, the Spanish region's leader says. "With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic," says Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, per the BBC. Catalan officials say 90% of votes were for statehood, with a turnout of 42.3%, though around 750,000 votes could not be counted because police seized ballot boxes. Officials say 844 people were injured in clashes, including 33 police. The latest:
- Puigdemont, who earlier said he would declare unilateral independence for the region within 48 hours if the Yes side won, vowed to send the result to the "Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum," the Guardian reports. Spain says the referendum was illegal and the result was invalid.
- Catalonians on both sides of the independence debate say they were shocked by the violence of Spanish police, who smashed into polling stations and fired rubber bullets at protesters. "It was a day of recognition of rights. The human right to vote," office worker Olga Gil tells the AP. "What the police and the Spanish state did was totally shameful. I hope what we saw was a clear message."
- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected the vote in a statement late Sunday, CNBC reports. "I can tell you in the strongest terms what you already know and what we have seen throughout this day," he said. "There has not been a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia today."
- Rajoy said police "did what they had to do" in the face of a "serious attack" on Spain's "democratic state," the New York Times reports. Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaría accused the Catalan government of acting "with absolute irresponsibility, which had to be overcome by the professionalism of the security forces."
- Quartz has more on Sunday's violent efforts to stop the vote, which it describes as a "disaster for the Spanish government."
- Politico has five takeaways from Sunday's events, including predictions that the separatists, who may now be offered greater autonomy from Madrid, are now unlikely to settle for anything short of self-determination.
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