Residents of Barcelona react to referendum and ensuing violence — Watch

Residents of Barcelona react to referendum and ensuing violence — Watch

It's anybody's guess what might happen if the northeastern region of Catalonia does actually try to secede. More than 800 people were injured after Spanish police stormed polling stations and tried to forcibly prevent people from voting, firing tear gas and physically attacking prospective voters.

He added that the "irresponsible behaviors" of the Catalan authorities had "put the economic stability of Catalonia and Spain in doubt", and insisted that in such a situation it was "the responsibility of the organ of state to guarantee in the stability of the country".

Bendito, who needed 16,570 member votes to see his motion go through, only received 12,504 by the Wednesday deadline set by the club, and he conceded defeat on Thursday.

Either way, the declaration will not be valid under Spanish law, Dr Pardo explained.

Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont told the BBC that the region will declare independence in a matter of days in response to Spain's King Felipe VI speech on Tuesday night, as thousands took to the streets to protest against a violent police crackdown.

Over 40 trade unions and associations in the region have called for a strike on Tuesday due to "the grave violation of rights and freedoms".

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Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government responded by calling on Catalonia to "return to the path of law" first before any negotiations. "For many years during the Franco era, people weren't allowed to vote", Pique said.

"They have shown contempt for the affection and feelings of solidarity which have united and will unite all Spaniards".

Catalonia's leaders appear intent on declaring independence from Spain in the coming days. "I have already voted. Our democratic principles are strong", he concluded.

"Yet it was apparent we're not a minority, because we were millions of people and it wasn't rowdy".

Pro-independence parties who control the regional government staged Sunday's referendum in defiance of the Constitutional Court, which had ruled that the vote violated Spain's 1978 constitution which states the country is indivisible.

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