Brussels puts its faith in Mariano Rajoy after 'illegal' Catalan vote

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The secessionist leader of Catalonia called for global mediation on Monday in the region's dispute with Madrid, a day after hundreds of people were hurt as police swung truncheons and fired rubber bullets to disrupt an independence referendum.

Dozens of people were injured and Nadal said: "I want to cry when I see a country where we have known how to co-exist and be a good example to the rest of the world get to a situation like this".

Catalonia says some 2.3 million people - less than half the region's electorate - voted in the referendum. Some taped up their mouths to symbolise being silenced. Spanish cops reportedly used rubber bullets and tear gas.

Protesters hold a Catalan flag as they gather outside National Police Headquarters during a one-day strike in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017.

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

The Catalan government says the vote in support of independence was almost 90 percent, but official results have not yet been released.

Spain's King Felipe VI has condemned organisers of Catalonia's independence referendum for having put themselves "outside the law".

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Puigdemont said the statement was "disappointing", and that the vote was "a European issue".

The bloc urged both sides to avoid confrontation in favour of dialogue.

Some 42% of people had their say but many anti-separatists were thought to have stayed away and not voted.

"It's time to talk, finding a way out of the impasse, working within the constitutional order of Spain", commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told an emergency debate in the European Parliament. EU member states and the European Commission have expressed no support for the Catalan independence cause, nor has the business world-the region is Spain's industrial hub, after all.

Catalonia's regional government is mulling when to declare the region's independence from Spain in the wake of a disputed referendum that has triggered Spain's most serious national crisis in decades. Outside of Catalonia, Spaniards mostly hold strong views against its independence drive.

Spain's reaction: The Spanish government did not recognize the move, calling it illegal, according to The Telegraph.

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