Catalans were fooled – Spanish PM

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A student holds a Catalan pro-independence 'Estelada' flag during a protest in Barcelona on October 2, 2017 a day after hundreds were injured in a police crackdown during Catalonia's banned independence referendum. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Staff Reporter

Windhoek-Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has said many Catalans were fooled when they were called to participate in a mobilisation that was illegal, logistically chaotic and without any kind of guarantees.
“I understand the frustration that they might feel today and I am sincerely saddened by it. But I am also telling them that the way to debate their political demands can never be to break the law and impose on others but rather to engage in a loyal dialogue in which everyone can be heard and understood,” said Rajoy on Sunday.

The Embassy of Spain in Namibia sent out Rajoy’s speech made on Sunday to local media.
Rajoy said the vast majority of the people of Catalonia did not want to play along with “the script written by the secessionists”.

“The vast majority of Catalans have shown that they are law-abiding people, in the noblest sense of that expression. Without noise and without fuss, they have ignored the call to the polls and in doing so they knew that they were taking the side of democracy, the side in favour of social harmony,” said Rajoy.

However, BBC News reported that Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said the Spanish region has won the right to statehood, following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence.

According to BBC News, Puigdemont the door was open to a unilateral declaration of independence after Catalan officials said voters had backed secession with a 42.3 percent voter turnout.

Spain’s government has warned it could suspend Catalan autonomy. The constitutional court banned the vote and almost 900 people were hurt, as police tried to stop it going ahead.

Officers from the national police and paramilitary Civil Guard seized ballot papers and boxes at polling stations. More than 2.2 million people were reported to have voted, according to Catalan authorities, out of 5.3 million registered voters. Just under 90 percent of those who voted backed independence, they said.

A Catalan spokesman said more than 750 000 votes could not be counted because polling stations were closed and urns were confiscated.

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