Febrero 21, 2018

Referendum in Catalonia: demonstration at the European parliament

09 Octubre 2017, 09:12 | Crisanna Felipe

REUTERSThousands voted for Catalonia independence

Catalonia independence

"We have perhaps been silent too long", Alejandro Marcos, 44, told AFP.

The situation would certainly have more chance of success if Puigdemont and Catalonia's pro-independence parties sign up to it, or at least suspend their separatist actions while it runs its course. "The unity of Spain can not be voted on or negotiated - it must be defended", read one sign in the crowd.

That was followed on Monday morning by a call from Catalan foreign affairs spokesman, Raul Romeva, for dialogue. City police said 700,000 people joined a pro-independence protest in Barcelona two days after the vote.

Carles Puigdemont is Catalonia's regional premier, and head of a secessionist coalition which organised an Oct.1 independence referendum that was banned by the Constitutional Court but went ahead, despite violent Spanish police attempts to stop it.

In recent weeks, a stream of Catalonia-based firms and banks have moved their legal bases outside the regionas a crisis over a Catalonian push for independence from Spain deepened.

In an interview with El Pais newspaper, Rajoy also rejected any mediation to resolve the crisis, BBC reported on Sunday. "Ideally, we should not have to resort to drastic solutions, but in that case there would have to be rectifications". Separatist politicians say they will move ahead with an independence declaration despite Spain's objections.

About 10 companies have made a decision to relocate their legal headquarters from Catalonia to other places in Spain over fears of an unilateral declaration of independence, local media reported on Saturday.

Madrid on Friday meanwhile apologised for the first time for police use of violence in trying to hinder a weekend referendum it had declared illegal, soothing financial market jitters.

Were Catalonia to unilaterally declare independence during the SNP's gathering, it would surely spark a clamour among activists either to recognise the new state, or from some to even plot a similar move.

Hard-liners want a declaration of independence on Tuesday, on the basis of the referendum results.

So what happens if Catalonia's government declares independence anyway, possibly as early as Tuesday - or what if it doesn't?

"I want to make one thing absolutely clear: as long as the threat of a declaration of independence remains on the political horizon, it's going to be very hard for the government not to take steps".

Puigdemont hinted in an interview on Sunday that the region would go ahead with the declaration if Madrid continued to refuse dialogue.

This Sunday saw demonstrations in the Catalan capital involving some 350,000 people protesting against independence and in favour of a united Spain. Scenes of Spanish police beating unarmed voters in the October 1 referendum caused worldwide shock. "What they are doing is destroying it".

As NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, the people in the region are almost evenly divided over the issue of independence even though many who are in favor of staying with Spain may not have voted in the referendum.

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