Nicola Sturgeon backs Catalonia’s right to hold a referendum

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Nicola Sturgeon has backed Catalonia’s right to hold a referendum on independence, saying she is concerned about attempts to stop the vote.

Scotland’s First Minister called for dialogue between the governments of Catalonia and Spain over the planned October 1 vote, which the Spanish government has declared illegal.

A crowd of protestors gather outside the Catalan region's economy ministry building in Barcelona. Picture AP

Ms Sturgeon said the Edinburgh Agreement, drawn up by the Scottish and UK Governments before the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, could act as a template for others.

READ MORE: Spain responds to Scottish Government statement on Catalonia

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, she said: “I think most people would agree that the situation in Catalonia is of concern.

“I hope that there will be dialogue between the Catalan and the Spanish governments to try to resolve the situation. That has got to be preferable to the sight of police officers seizing ballot papers and entering newspaper offices.

“It is of course entirely legitimate for Spain to oppose independence for Catalonia but what I think is of concern anywhere is for a state to seek to deny the right of a people to democratically express their will.

“The right of self determination is an important international principle and I hope very much that it will be respected in Catalonia and everywhere else.

“The Edinburgh Agreement is a shining example of two governments with diametrically opposed views on independence nevertheless coming together to agree a process that allowed the people to decide and I think that offers a template that can be used by others elsewhere in the world.”

READ MORE: Why Catalonia’s independence vote is ‘very different’ from Scotland’s

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