Catalan leader: 'region has won right to statehood' after referendum

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CNN reports that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said he expected strong support for the day of action and called for worldwide mediation to resolve the crisis.

The regional government said 2.26 million people took part in the poll, or just over 42% of the electorate. Some taped up their mouths to symbolise being silenced. The hours in between were marked by striking scenes of police firing rubber bullets, smashing into polling stations and beating back protesters with batons.

Protesters hold a Catalan flag as they gather outside National Police Headquarters during a one-day strike in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017. Catalan leaders accused Spanish police of brutality and repression while the Spanish government praised the security forces for behaving firmly and proportionately.

The European Commission said Wednesday it was "time to talk" to resolve the escalating political crisis in Catalonia, while defending Madrid's right to use "proportionate" force to maintain law and order.

Officials claim that 90% of Catalans who voted backed leaving Spain, but turnout for the referendum barely exceeded 40%.

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United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was "very disturbed" by the referendum unrest while European Union president Donald Tusk urged Madrid to avoid further violence.

The bloc urged both sides to avoid confrontation in favour of dialogue.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont lashed out Sunday at the violence used by Spain's national police in dispersing people in Barcelona who wanted to vote.

Spain's reaction: The Spanish government did not recognize the move, calling it illegal, according to The Telegraph. For more, we speak with Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College and author of the forthcoming book "Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography".

Spain's King Felipe VI made a rare televised address to the country, criticizing the Catalan government after the region held an independence referendum on Sunday. Senior police official Teresa Laplana and pro-independence supporters Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural and Jordi Sanchez of the ANC completes the quartet.