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European Union urges Spain to stop Catalonia violence

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"I want to highlight (to all of the citizens of Catalonia) that we live in a democratic state where anyone can defend their ideas, within their respect for the law".

Spain's two largest unions on Monday said they would not take part in the general strike and also called for dialogue between the central government and Catalonia, criticizing both the call for independence and the heavy-handed police tactics.

The European Parliament will hold a special debate on Wednesday on the issue.

SPAIN is facing a political and constitutional crisis after Catalans voted in favour of independence in a contested referendum that descended into chaos when police launched a widespread and violent crackdown.

Still, King Felipe's message falls in line with the Spanish government, which declared Catalonia's referendum unconstitutional prior to Sunday's vote.

Regional health official said that well over 700 people were wounded in the violence.

"Under the Spanish constitution, yesterday's vote in Catalonia was not legal", the European Union executive's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing on Monday.

Meanwhile, Madrid comes under growing worldwide pressure to resolve its worst political crisis in decades.

Almost 900 people were injured in clashes after Spanish riot police entered voting stations to stop people from voting.

"These are hard times, but we will get over them and go forward, because we believe in our country and are proud of what we are". Catalan leaders accused Spanish police of brutality and repression while the Spanish government praised the security forces for behaving firmly and proportionately.

He also said it was the duty of any Government to uphold the rule of law and sometimes that requires the "proportionate use of force".

A child wears an "estelada", or Catalonia independent flag, with others in a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due to be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended.

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