Catalonia faces uncertainty as leader weighs independence declaration

Katrina Barker
October 10, 2017

"Catalonia belongs to us all, and not just to the nationalists", said Álex Ramos, of the anti-separatist Catalan Civil Society, which organised the protest.

Joanna Cherry, who along with Chapman and a number of others was in Barcelona for the referendum as part of a 35-nation cross-party delegation, also spoke in favour of the resolution, saying: "What I witnessed was a quiet and dignified determination to vote in the face of considerable interference".

On Saturday, a similarly large rally was held in the city to demand secession from Spain, while another demonstration was held in support of Spanish unity in Madrid.

The vote was held without regular electoral lists or observers - and polls indicate Catalans are split on the prospect of independence.

Puigdemont, a former journalist and not a career politician, said he is not afraid of going to jail over independence.

"If [Spain] can take the powers away from Catalonia, my real worry is that Westminster could do the same to us".

Asked if she would like to see the Scottish government recognise a declaration of independence from Catalonia, Sandra White MSP, who was in Catalonia as an worldwide observer of the referendum, told BuzzFeed News on Monday: "I'd like to see it, absolutely". According to France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau, "This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics". As for Spain's hard-left Podemos party, its leader Pablo Iglesias was roundly booed by some 50 pro-unity demonstrators when he was spotted at Barcelona Sants railway station early yesterday morning - catching a train for Madrid.

But uncertainty still haunts the country as Catalan leaders have said they could declare independence this week. "It won't go unanswered", she said but did not specify whether the government would move to take control of Catalonia by invoking article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which has never been used.

The region's president Carles Puigdemont is expected to address parliament tomorrow following a landmark referendum to separate. But the Catalan business community is urging caution. And in an interview with Spains influential El País newspaper, Rajoy also rejected any mediation to resolve the crisis.

The region of Catalonia, home to 7.5 million people in the northeast, is crucial to Spain, which is the EU's fifth-biggest economy and a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Rajoy says that he will consider employing any measure "allowed by the law" to stop the region's separatists.

Taken over by France in the 17th century, many in this region nestled between the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean retain close cultural links with Catalonia to the south.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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