Catalans should be allowed to determine their own future-Scottish govt

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The Spanish region of Catalonia should be allowed to determine its own future, Scotland’s devolved pro-independence government said, adding that the strength of Catalan feeling could not be ignored by the international community.

The statement came after an independence vote organized by Catalonia’s autonomous regional government on Sunday, ruled illegal by Madrid, erupted into violence as police tried to stop it going ahead.

The results of the vote overwhelmingly backed independence, although turnout was 42 percent because those in favor of keeping Spain as one country boycotted it. The autonomous Catalan government has called for international mediation.

“Spain will maintain that this vote is not legitimate but the strength of feeling demonstrated cannot be ignored by Spain, nor by the wider European and international community,” Scotland’s foreign minister Fiona Hyslop said.

“There must now be dialogue to resolve this matter in a way that respects both democracy and the rule of law, and allows the people of Catalonia to determine their own future.”

Scotland itself rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a binding 2014 referendum, although nationalists are still the dominant force in Scottish politics.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Michael Holden