Catalans vote in favour of holding a formal referendum that will let them vote on independence from Spain. Yiming Woo reports.
Chanting "independence, independence", those who want Catalonia to split from Spain celebrate after a symbolic vote. A reported 80 percent want a formal referendum on the issue, while half of them voted for full independence. Almost half of the region's 5 million voters cast their ballots on Sunday. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) BARCELONA RESIDENT, MARK DIAZ, SAYING: "A very emotional day. This is only the first step to achieve the independence for our country of Catalonia." Those calling for a breakaway believe Catalonia, which accounts of a fifth of Spain's economy, has been held back by the rest of the country. It also has its own distinct culture and language. Some in the Spanish government who opposed the vote say it wasn't legitimate because it was organised by pro-independence organisations. But Catalan President Artur Mas says it's time they paid attention. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATALAN PRESIDENT, ARTUR MAS, SAYING: "In the next future we will have to use this tool, elections to try to hold this kind of referendum and to know how broad the majority for independence in Catalonia is." Independence supporters hope the results will persuade the central government to allow them more say on tax and political issues, and perhaps even a full independence vote in the future.