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Catalonia wins right to statehood: 90 per cent vote to breakaway from Spain

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    Catalonia's regional leader opened the door to a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on Sunday after voters defied a violent police crackdown. 90 percent voted in in favour of breaking away.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

    Despite Spanish police using batons and rubber bullets to disrupt the banned referendum, which was declared unconstitutional by Madrid, the Catalan government said 2.26 million people had cast ballots, a turnout of about 42 percent.

    Carles Puigdemont's comments followed a television address by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who ruled out independence and accused separatists of trying to "blackmail ... the whole nation". He offered all-party talks on the region's future.

    Earlier in the day, the streets of Catalonia, an industrial and tourism powerhouse accounting for a fifth of Spain's economy, erupted into violence as national police burst into polling stations with batons, dragging voters away.

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