Catalonia leader seeks to make independence referendum binding

Irish Govt does not recognise Catalan vote, says Varadkar

According to preliminary results, just 42% of eligible electors (or 2.2 million people) voted, of which 90% voted for independence. "They [European officials] have never wanted to listen to us".

Puigdemont warned that if the Spanish government attempted to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, it would be "an error which changes everything".

Catalan separatists face several major hurdles to having the vote recognized as legitimate, in Spain and overseas, though for them, simply holding the referendum amounted to a victory of sorts.

The referendum, which took place last Sunday amid a bloody crackdown by Spanish military police, was illegal under the Spanish constitution. He has indicated that Catalonia could declare independence next week.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who voted blank on Sunday, condemned police actions against the region's "defenseless" population, but Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police had "acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way".

The Catalan Health Department said that almost 1,000 people sought medical help after the clashes.

Mr Puigdemont told the BBC on Tuesday that he would declare independence "at the end of this week or the beginning of next".

Puigdemont urged Rajoy to say whether he was in favor of mediation, which he said should be overseen by the European Union. Imagine National Guardsmen, shipped in from 49 other states, occupying schools, churches, and fire halls in Texas and California, brutally beating and gassing any who try to vote, while local and state police find themselves caught in the middle.

Some police officers were seen firing rubber bullets, storming into polling stations and pulling women by their hair.

Puigdemont also called on the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, to "encourage worldwide mediation", though it has made clear that it considers the dispute internal to Spain.

Crowds supporting the Catalan's nationalists in Barcelona tonight yelled for national security forces to get out of the region, branding them "occupation forces" and raising their middle fingers at a police helicopter circling overhead.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic declared support for the territorial integrity of Spain and denounced the "double standards and hypocrisy" of all the European Union member states who recognized Kosovo's independence but have not supported Catalonia's independence bid.

The central government has declared the vote illegal and invalid, but Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has not disclosed what his response to the independence bid will be, or if he intends to go as far as suspending the region's self-government.

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