Spain's king blasts "unacceptable" disloyalty of Catalan leaders

Spain's king blasts

The Archbishop of Barcelona has condemned the violence during Sunday's Catalan independence referendum as "deplorable". The autonomous Catalan government has called for global mediation.

The statement came after an independence vote organized by Catalonia's autonomous regional government on Sunday, ruled illegal by Madrid, erupted into violence as police tried to stop it going ahead.

Catalan officials say the poll, which Spain insists was illegal and invalid, shows that a majority who voted favour secession.

On Tuesday, workers' unions held strikes and 700,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelona, AP reports.

According to preliminary results, just 42% of eligible electors (or 2.2 million people) voted, of which 90% voted for independence.

Puigdemont said there was now no contact between the government in Madrid and his devolved administration.

The Catalan President stopped short of declaring independence from Spain Monday - a move that would further deepen the crisis.

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The king's reaction was "a mistake from every point of view", Turull said in an interview on the regional government's TV channel.

More than 50 barricades or protests had blocked roads across Spain's north-eastern region yesterday morning, including major toll roads and motorways which link the country to France, with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont calling on Twitter for a "democratic, civic, dignified protest".

Still, King Felipe's message falls in line with the Spanish government, which declared Catalonia's referendum unconstitutional prior to Sunday's vote.

In a fiery speech on Tuesday evening, Spain's King Felipe accused the Catalan authorities of "scorning" Spanish unity and threatening the stability of the whole country.

He said that the use of article 155, and the possible arrest of members of the Catalan government - including himself - could be the "ultimate mistake".

Maduro contrasted the crackdown with his own administration's handling of an unofficial July 16 opposition plebiscite, which asked voters if they wanted the national armed forces to intervene to "restore the constitutional order".

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