Puigdemont: Spanish king ignored millions of Catalans

The EU has said 'violence can never be an instrument in politics'

But Puigdemont called for an worldwide arbiter to mediate the crisis, ideally the European Union.

The Spanish state, he went on, needed to ensure constitutional order and the rule of law in Catalonia, which is the richest region of Spain.

"Today Catalan society is fractured and in conflict", King Felipe VI said.

Participants in the referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence, but turnout was only about 43 percent as Catalans who favor remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the ballot.

Catalan officials say the poll, which Spain insists was illegal and invalid, shows that a majority who voted favour secession.

On Tuesday, huge crowds held street protests and unions staged a strike in Catalonia to protest against the alleged police brutality.

"It's one of the worst decisions this country has taken in the last 40 years because it's only separated Catalonia from Spain even more".

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Catalan referendum "cannot be ignored", but Spainish PM Mariano Rajoy and his government have not aknowledged the vote.

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The Catalan President stopped short of declaring independence from Spain Monday - a move that would further deepen the crisis.

"I think in any democracy there has to be surely a legal way for people to express their view and therefore there should be a process of dialogue that allows Catalonia and the Spanish Government to decide the way forward here".

The judge leading the judicial investigation, Carmen Lamela, also summoned the leaders of two prominent Catalan pro-independence civil groups: Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural and Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC).

Delivering a televised address to the nation, the king said the bid by authorities in the region to push ahead with independence had "undermined coexistence" in Catalonia.

The central government and national courts considered the referendum illegal.

Several thousand people gathered outside Barcelona's town hall Tuesday morning where the executive of the autonomous Catalan government was meeting.

Scotland itself rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a binding 2014 referendum, although nationalists are still the dominant force in Scottish politics.

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