'Catalonia independence from Spain just days away'

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Autonomous Catalonia is Spain's richest region and has a separate language and culture.

Hundreds of thousands in Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during Sunday's vote, during which almost 900 people were hurt.

Addressing the European parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European commission, said the images emerging from Catalonia were saddening but it was clear that the regional government had "chosen to ignore the law" when organising the referendum.

A child wears an "estelada", or Catalonia independent flag, with others in a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.

The leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, told a news conference Monday that global mediation is needed to resolve the dispute. "This will probably finish once we get all the votes in from overseas at the end of the week and therefore we shall probably act over the weekend or early next week".

The Catalan police - the Mossos d'Esquadra - have been placed under Madrid's control.

Spanish authorities say the demonstrations hindered the police operation.

The king's televised speech is extremely unusual.

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In his address, King Felipe VI said Catalan leaders who organised the referendum showed their "disrespect to the powers of the state".

Barcelona's port was at a standstill, trade union sources said.

The referendum has plunged Spain into its worst constitutional crisis in decades, and is a political test for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a conservative who has taken a hard line stance on the issue. We also speak with Pau Faus, filmmaker and writer from Barcelona, Spain.

For his part, Puigdemont claimed his government "would always have liked this process to be driven by dialogue [as] there wouldn't have been the police violence".

"There are people who interpret the Constitution like the Bible, like it contains absolute truths, that it's more important than the will of the people", the Catalonian leader said.

Spain's reaction: The Spanish government did not recognize the move, calling it illegal, according to The Telegraph. I have never been pro-independence, my parents are from Andalucia.

Appealing for worldwide mediation to help solve the crisis, he told the corporation that he disagreed with the European Commission's statement that it was internal matter for Spain.

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