Though 2.2 million Catalan voted — with 90 percent backing independence — the referendum polled less than half of the region’s electorate. Catalonia’s regional President Carles Puigdemont declared he would seek a declaration of independence in the regional parliament anyway.
Other protests asking for dialogue were held in cities including Valencia, Bilbao, Pamplona and Sanitago de Compostela, news agency Europa Press reported.
The calls for dialogue and unity come after a traumatic week, with riot police storming several polling stations in an unsuccessful attempt to impede the referendum. Instead, hundreds of voters were left in need of medical attention.
The bloodied vote was followed by a strike on Tuesday across Catalonia to protest the police violence. Then came the stern message from Spain’s King Felipe VI that the Catalan government and parliament were breaking the law.
Puigdemont and his separatist supporters were struck a blow when Catalonia’s top two banks, CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell, as well as energy giant Gas Natural announced they were relocating their headquarters from Catalonia to other parts of Spain.
Other companies are considering such a move to ensure that the region’s possible secession wouldn’t knock them out of the European Union and its lucrative common market.