In a symbolic gesture, residents in a small Spanish town have supported a call for the region of Catalonia to secede from Spain.
More than 96 per cent of voters in Arenys de Munt backed the move for Catalonia to become an independent state within the European Union.
While the referendum was carried out, members of the far-right group the Falange, demonstrated against the break up of a united Spain.
Catalonia, in common with other Spanish regions, already enjoys extensive autonomy over areas including education and health.
In 2006 a special statute enlarged these rights but now Spain’s Constitutional Court is set to overturn the ruling. If that happens Spain’s minority socialist government could lose the crucial support of Catalan MPs in parliament in protest.