Spain threatens direct action if Catalonia declares independence as crisis deepens

Violet Powell
October 11, 2017

"If they declare independence, there will be decisions to restore the law and democracy", the deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said in a radio interview on Monday.

Catalonia's sessionist leader Carles Puigdemont is expected to address the regional parliament on Tuesday and declare whether they will be separating itself from Spain or not.

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. "We will do everything that legislation allows us to ensure this", Rajoy told the newspaper.

Catalonia's secessionist leader is under pressure to abandon plans to declare independence as his statement is moved to Tuesday.

Benet Salellas of the separatist Catalan CUP party said: 'It's very clear to me that those who I represent won't accept any other scenario'. According to France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau, "This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics".

"We have said yes to so many mediation options that have been proposed", he said.

"Credibility and dignity suggest making the declaration of independence tomorrow", said Jordi Sanchez, the head of the civil group National Catalonia Assembly said today.

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"Spain will not be divided and the national unity will be preserved".

Between 250,000 and 400,000 anti-independence Catalans, and supporters from the rest of Spain, marched through the streets of Barcelona on Sunday to protest any moves for a breakaway state, following a divisive and controversial referendum on October 1 that found a majority of Catalan voters in favor of independence.

Article 155 of Spain's constitution says that if a region's government breaches its constitutional obligations or "acts in a way that seriously threatens the general interest of Spain", Madrid can "take necessary measures to oblige it forcibly to comply or to protect said general interest". It is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for about a fifth of Spain's economy.

Although it is not know what Puigdemont might say, any declaration of independence from the region would likely lead to more violence.

Meanwhile, Nils Muizneks, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, revealed that he has requested Spain's Ministry of the Interior set up an independent enquiry into multiple claims of disproportionate use of excessive force by the Spanish police during the banned referendum on 1 October.

Rajoy was forced to apologize on Friday, but many in Catalan say the crackdown has only fueled their desire for independence.

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