Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia has won the right to an independent state, following the controversial referendum on Sunday that saw violence break out in the region.
At least 800 people were injured in the violent clashes over the weekend, with Spanish police attempting to prevent people from casting their votes with the use of force or by seizing their ballot papers, the BBC reported.
And despite the Spanish government having said they would not permit the vote to go ahead, with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stating the poll was a “mockery” of democracy, Puigdemont said Catalonia had won the right to an independent state following the vote, the results of which are expected in several days.
"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," Puigdemont said on Sunday evening.
"My government, in the next few days will send the results of today's vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum,” he added.
ITN’s Dominic Reynolds, reporting from Central Square in Catalonia, said the televised address from Puigdemont was met with cheers from the crowds that had gathered to hear the speech.
“Roars at the end of Catalan President's speech in Central Square. Hinted a declaration of Independence is incoming,” Reynolds wrote in a post on Twitter.
Shortly before Puigdemont’s speech, Rajoy had refused to acknowledge the vote and blamed the Catalan government for the violence that broke out over the weekend.
“The responsibility for these acts solely and exclusively falls on those who promoted the rupture of legality and coexistence,” he said in comments carried by The Guardian.
“The vast majority of the people of Catalonia did not want to participate in the secessionists’ script. They have shown that they are law-abiding people and quietly ignored the call [to vote] … All Spaniards value their attitude.”