Speed Reading — Catalonia - Level 5 — 200 wpm

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A strike in Catalonia, Spain on Tuesday brought large parts of Barcelona to a standstill. Thousands of Catalans joined together and blocked roads to protest over police violence during Sunday's independence referendum. Nearly 900 people were injured in a police crackdown against voters and referendum staff. Spain's government said the referendum was illegal. It ordered the police to break it up. Spain's King Felipe VI condemned the vote. In a televised speech, he said people had put themselves "outside the law". He said the situation in Catalonia was "extremely serious" and called for national unity.

The mayor of Barcelona said the Catalan people deserved a vote on independence. She said: "What we need is a democratic response…a political solution [and] an inclusive solution that listens to the cries of millions of people." She called for Spain's prime minister to resign. More unrest could come in the days ahead. A declaration of Catalan independence could send Spain into a constitutional crisis. It could risk the break-up of Spain if other regions copy Catalonia and have their own referendum. Spain's president asked the international community to help mediate.

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