Spanish court opens sedition probe of Catalonia officials for indepdendence bid

Gerard Pique looks on during the World Cup Qualifier between Spain and Italy at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in September 2017

The European Commission also said the Catalonian referendum was illegal.

"I am here because I want Madrid to hear we are not exhausted and we will not accept to repeat the history of fascism", Francesca Carbonell, a 30-year-old waitress in Barcelona, told ABC News. Puigdemont is seeking worldwide mediation following the vote, saying he wants to reach an understanding with the Spanish government, and avoid a "traumatic break". "They have sided with our democracy and the rule of law", Rajoy said during a news conference. He offered firm support to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has attempted to stop the referendum from taking place since early September. He also urged Spain's national police reinforcements to leave the region.

The Catalan government said the vote in support of independence was almost 90%, but official results have not yet been released.

After a proposal by the three main political groups in the European Parliament - the conservatives, the socialists and the liberals - the debate will consider "constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in the light of the events in Catalonia". Some 90% of voters backed a split from Spain, but turnout was only around 42%, largely because anti-independence Catalans did not show up.

"The great majority of Catalans have decided not to participate ..."

Puigdemont repeated his calls for dialogue and mediation with Madrid but said his government was still planning to take the results of the referendum to the Catalan parliament over the next few days to prepare for a declaration of independence.

She also said the local police in Girona were applauded for the work they were doing in terms of upholding the law and keeping the peace.

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"With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic", Puigdemont said on Sunday.

Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next", the Catalan regional leader told the BBC in an interview Tuesday.

He insisted that the Commission saw the matter as an internal one for Spain: "That is why the Commission has called on all relevant actors to now move quickly from confrontation to dialogue".

With tensions running high throughout the country after clashes between the police and members of the public over a referendum for secession that's been deemed "illegal" by the Spanish government, Pique bore the brunt of fans' ire.

She said: "The people have been wonderful and I won't ever forget this".

Catalonia continues to take steps toward a unilateral declaration of independence.

In Barcelona's Catalonia and University squares, a sea of demonstrators waved flags, a lot of them "esteladas" embraced by those wishing secession, but also plenty of Spanish national flags.

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