MADRID (Reuters) – The leader of Catalonia called for international mediation yesterday to resolve a stand-off with Madrid, the day after hundreds were injured as police tried to forcibly disrupt a referendum on independence that had been ruled illegal.
“It is not a domestic matter,” Carles Puigdemont said yesterday. “It’s obvious that we need mediation.”
Images of riot police using rubber bullets and batons in a show of force to stop the vote shocked Spain and drew international condemnation. Authorities said almost 900 were injured.
Mr Puigdemont had gone ahead with the referendum in defiance of a court order. Yesterday he said the vote was valid and binding, and had to be applied.
He urged Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to say whether he was in favour of mediation in talks over the region’s future, which he said should be overseen by the EU.
In a statement issued shortly before Mr Puigdemont made his proposal, the European Commission said: “We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics.”
There was an overwhelming “Yes” vote among the 42 percent who authorities said made it to the polls.