Russian Trace in the Catalonian Referendum: Is a 'Spanish Spring' Possible?

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been restrained in his reaction, saying he wouldn't comment on Spain and its "internal processes".

Meanwhile, Poland's government has expressed hope for a "quick stabilization of the situation in Catalonia" through dialogue and compromise, "without resorting to force or street demonstrations".

The Archbishop of Barcelona has condemned the violence during Sunday's Catalan independence referendum as "deplorable". The Catalan Health Department said that hundreds people sought medical help after the clashes.

"We're entering a phase of strikes and street protests. and with more movement, more repression". What would happen if Spain blocked Catalonia's membership? Although it already has extensive autonomy, its tax revenues are crucial to Spain's state budget.

The Catalan president said the regional parliament will be asked to declare independence this week after final results are announced - and plenary sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy looks to be doubling down on his response to a still-escalating crisis after secessionist leaders in Barcelona signaled they may declare independence within days for the region that constitutes about a fifth of Spain's economic output.

Why the massive crackdown on a vote with no real meaning?

Images of the use of force by police also suggest that many voters were physically prevented from casting their ballots, or felt intimated to do so. Catalonia said preliminary poll results showed 90 percent favored independence after less than half the electorate voted. The Catalan independence movement, moreover, found little support from a European Union jittery about the rise of populist and nationalist movements in most of its member states.

"They've called me a quisling, a turncoat, a sellout, a coward, a wimp and a traitor", wrote Jordi Ballart, a Catalan politician who came out against independence, on his Facebook page.

The images of police violence enflamed opinion in Catalonia and overseas, yet instilled fear locally and likely had a chilling effect on voter turnout, leaving the legitimacy of the result in doubt.

"Despite how much they are incited, and despite how much they (the Spanish authorities and security forces) want them to fall into the trap, they have demonstrated peacefully and sung loud and clear".

Rajoy will hold crisis talks later Monday with the leader of the main opposition Socialist party, Pedro Sanchez, as well as with Albert Rivera, the leader of the centist party Ciudadanos, his minority government's ally in in parliament.

Spain's two largest unions on Monday said they would not take part in the general strike and also called for dialogue between the central government and Catalonia, criticising both the call for independence and the heavy-handed police tactics.

Thousands of people were injured, dozens kidnapped and a disputed number had gone into exile either to flee from the violence or to avoid capture by Spanish or French police or by Europol. Children were clearly visible in the crowds that were assaulted.