Catalans wrap up symbolic independence votes
A final round of symbolic referendums took place Sunday in 21 towns and cities of Catalonia, including the capital Barcelona, on whether the wealthy region should secede from Spain.
As of midday 96,526 people, or 8.27 percent of eligible voters, had cast their ballots in the referendums, which have no legal significance, organisers said in a statement.
Around 3,000 volunteers were staffing 347 polling stations set up in the 21 localities holding referendums on Sunday.
Over 500 towns and villages have staged similar referendums since September 2009 in four previous rounds of voting staged by local associations that back secession for Catalonia with the support of some political parties.
Turnout has been low and largely limited to separatists, with the results overwhelmingly in favour of Catalonia splitting from Spain.
Organisers hope the symbolic referendums will bolster the case for a binding, region-wide secession vote.
Spain's central government argues that under the constitution only it has the authority to call a referendum.
In 2008 it blocked a bid by the regional government of the northern Basque Country to hold its own referendum on secession from Spain.
Catalonia is home to around seven million of Spain's population of some 47 million, and accounts for 25 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
© 2011 AFP