Puigdemont, who governs Catalonia, said in an address after polls closed: “With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic.”
He urged the European Union to stop looking “the other way” following the police crackdown.
“We are European citizens and our rights and freedoms are being violated,” Puigdemont said.
But the leaders of the EU institutions remained silent. From the leaders of the EU countries, only Belgian PM Charles Michel and his Slovenian colleague Miro Cerar broke ranks, calling for political dialogue.