Map Europe should worry about
Hundreds of thousands of furious residents have taken to the streets of Barcelona, protesting a violent government crackdown on their fight for independence.
Riot police stormed polling booths on Sunday, firing rubber bullets and beating people with truncheons, as residents took part in a referendum to separate the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia from Spain.
They were under strict orders from the government in Madrid to shut down the vote — and almost 900 people, including the elderly, were injured in the chaos.Ex-NSA contractor 'guilty' in secret theft
Livid protesters have now shut down more than 50 per cent of the city’s streets, marching under Catalan flags and flipping the bird at government buildings.
Schools and universities have closed, while hospitals, public transport and the city’s airport are operating at their minimum level.
This morning, the country’s head of state slammed their “unacceptable disloyalty”.Trump disputes he watches hours of TV
King Felipe IV accused Catalan leaders of shattering democratic principles and dividing society by disrespecting “the powers of the state”.
“They could have put at risk the economy of Catalonia and even of Spain,” he said.
“These authorities in a clear and definitive way have put themselves outside the rule of law and democracy.”Lawsuit victory for Trump
The 49-year-old’s intervention, delivered via a rare national television broadcast, shows just how deeply the vote has shaken the country.
It has also highlighted just how severe regional tensions are across Europe.
British newspaper The Independent published a map this week showing all the regions across the with strong secessionist movements.EBA's Enria sees challenge to 'bail in' rules in retail debt holdings
The number of regions wishing for autonomy is truly surprising, and proves it’s not easy to divide nations with lines in the sand.
For example, Scotland held a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom in 2014, while Crimea has spent the last few years battling for independence from Ukraine to align itself with Russia.
Others are far less overt.Trump reaffirms Mexico will pay for wall
For example, there are is a move to separate France’s famous Provence region, and a campaign to remove Bavaria — the home of Oktoberfest — from Germany.
The map proves Spain’s population of 46.5 million is a veritable melting pot.
Aside from Catalonia, there are movements to separate the country into at least eight different parts — which each have different local languages and cultures.Russia ready to hold US talks on arms pact
The Catalan referendum has plunged the country into its worst constitutional crisis in decades, with no obvious solution.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a conservative, has taken a hard line stance on the issue — echoing the comments of King Felipe IV.
However, Catalan leader Cales Puigdemont told the BBC this morning the region would declare independence “in a matter of days”.Wagner: Russia’s secret army operating in Syria
He said his government would take charge “at the end of this week or the beginning of next” and that intervention from Madrid would be “an error”.
The referendum was staged in defiance of Spain’s Constitutional Court.
Outside Catalonia, Reuters reports Spaniards mostly hold strong views against the bid for independence.Tillerson to meet Lebanon's PM in Paris
Opinion polls before the vote suggested a minority of about 40 per cent of Catalan residents backed independence.
However, a majority wanted the referendum to be held — and the violent police crackdown has angered Catalans across the divide.