Short vote

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WORLD -

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.

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