Switzerland reportedly expressed readiness to provide a mediation platform for talks between Spain’s government and Catalonia amid the standoff over region’s independence.
Spain’s autonomous region is locked in a standoff with Madrid, which does not recognize the independence referendum held in Catalonia on Sunday. According to the Catalan authorities, slightly more than 2 million people out of 5.3 million of those eligible to vote cast their ballots, and 90 percent of them backed independence. Almost 900 people had to seek medical help because of the clashes between referendum supporters and the police on the day of the vote.
Earlier in the day Enric Millo, the Spanish government’s official representative in Catalonia, apologized for police violence during the Catalonian referendum. On the day of the referendum, the National Guard and National Police arrived in Barcelona and tried to thwart the vote.
Catalonia has been seeking independence from Spain for years. On November 9, 2014, about 80 percent of the Catalans who took part in a non-binding referendum on the region’s status as part of Spain voted in favor of Catalonia becoming an independent state. The vote was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the authorities in Madrid.
On June 9, the president of the autonomous region, Carles Puigdemont, said that Catalonia would hold a unilateral referendum on independence on October 1, 2017, prompting criticism from Madrid.