Catalonia could declare independence within days. The statement came from independence leader Carles Puigdemont in a recent interview with BBC indicating his government would act “at the end of this week, or the beginning of next.”
The controversial interview followed a disputed independence referendum that took place Sunday. There were 5.3 million registered voters. Of these 2.2 million are said to have voted (42.3%). Catalan officials say that approximately 90% of those who voted, backed a bid for independence. Official results have yet to be released.
Spanish courts issued a court order suspending the vote before the referendum. The BBC reports Spanish police used violence to enforce the order. Some officers were described as storming into polling stations, and pulling women by the hair.There are reports of voting irregularities, which are being blamed on a system that allowed voters to cast ballots at any polling station in an attempt to counter police measures designed to stop the vote.
King Felipe VI of Spain said the organisers were operating against the law. According to the BBC, Spanish High court has begun investigating key figures on suspicion of sedition- inciting rebellion against the state. Figures under investigation include Josep Lluis Trapero, the head of the region’s police force. According to media reports, he is suspected of failing to control a demonstration during a police raid on Catalan government offices.
The Spanish constitution gives the government in Madrid the right to impose direct rule in autonomous areas. The Catalan Parliament could meet as early as Monday.