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Barcelona votes for Catalan independence in unofficial referendum

Barcelona votes for Catalan independence in unofficial referendum
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People in Barcelona have voted in favour of the idea of independence from Spain for the north-eastern region of Catalonia.

The result prompted celebrations among separatists, but the ballot will have no legal impact.

The unofficial referendum was organised by pro-independence activists for Barcelona residents only, and barely one in five – 21.4 percent – turned out to vote.

Of them, just over 91 percent said yes to full independence.

Similar votes had previously been held in towns and villages elsewhere in Catalonia. The region has gradually won more autonomy from Spain and has control over matters such as infrastructure and judicial affairs.

But many Catalans, proud of their cultural identity and language, feel they get a raw deal from Madrid.

Like the Basque region, Catalonia was heavily oppressed during the Franco dictatorship of 1939-75, which made it a crime to speak Catalan and Basque languages.

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