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Catalonia Officials 'will not follow orders from Madrid'

Discuss about the world's headlines

Re: Catalan YES expected so will they declare Independence

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:48 am

Catalan referendum: Catalonia has 'won right to statehood'

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence.

He said the door had been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence.

Catalan officials later said 90% of those who voted backed independence in Sunday's vote. The turnout was 42.3%.

Spain's constitutional court had declared the poll illegal and hundreds of people were injured as police used force to try to block voting.

Officers seized ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.

"With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic," Mr Puigdemont said in a televised address flanked by other senior Catalan leaders.

"My government, in the next few days will send the results of today's vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum."

He said the European Union could no longer "continue to look the other way".

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Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was flanked by members of his government as he made his statement

In another development, more than 40 trade unions and Catalan associations called a region-wide strike on Tuesday due to "the grave violation of rights and freedoms".

Earlier, as voting ended, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote. He called it a "mockery" of democracy.

"At this hour I can tell you in the strongest terms what you already know and what we have seen throughout this day. There has not been a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia," he said.

Large crowds of independence supporters gathered in the centre of the regional capital Barcelona on Sunday evening, waving flags and singing the Catalan anthem. Anti-independence protesters have also held rallies in Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

How bad was the violence?

The Catalan government said more than 800 people had been injured in clashes across the region. Those figures included people who had suffered relatively minor complaints such as anxiety attacks.

The Spanish interior ministry said 12 police officers had been hurt and three people arrested. It added that 92 polling stations had been closed.

In Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station where Mr Puigdemont was due to vote, and forcibly removed those inside. Mr Puigdemont voted at another station.

The BBC's Tom Burridge in Barcelona witnessed police being chased away from one polling booth after they had raided it.

TV footage showed riot police using batons to beat a group of firefighters who were protecting crowds in Girona.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41463719
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Re: Catalan YES expected so will they declare Independence

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Re: Catalan referendum: Catalonia has 'won right to statehoo

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:32 pm

Anti-police strike hits public services

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Thousands of people in Catalonia are rallying and blocking roads in protest over Spanish police violence during Sunday's independence referendum.

There is little public transport across the region, after local trade unions called a strike. Barcelona's port was at a standstill, union sources said.

Almost 900 people were hurt as police tried to prevent the vote. Thirty-three police officers were also injured.

The central government in Madrid said the referendum was illegal. X(

Beating innocent voters was illegal

On Tuesday, about 300,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona, city police were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Some demonstrators were marching towards the Catalan parliament.

More than 50 roadblocks in the city caused big traffic jams. Barcelona's metro traffic was cut to a 25% service during rush hour and no trains at all at other times.

Top tourist attractions were also closed, including the city's famous Sagrada Familia church.

Mercabarna - Barcelona's massive wholesale market - was left deserted as some 770 food businesses closed for the day.

However, the city's El Prat airport and its taxis are operating normally.

Protest rallies are also taking place in other major cities and towns of the north-eastern autonomous region.

Many small businesses have shut for the day. Schools, universities and medical services are also closed or operating at a minimum level.

The strike was called in protest at "the grave violation of rights and freedoms" seen during Sunday's ballot.

Some police officers were seen firing rubber bullets, storming into polling stations and pulling women by their hair.

Why Catalan emotions are running high

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said the vote made a "mockery" of democracy.

On Tuesday, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said: "We see how day after day the government of Catalonia is pushing the population to the abyss and inciting rebellion in the streets."

He also warned that the central government would take "all measures necessary to stop acts of harassment".

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría condemned the "mafia" behaviour of those protesters who had earlier gathered around hotels housing Spanish police officers and demanded that they leave.

On Sunday, more than 2.2 million people reportedly voted in the referendum. The Catalan government says the vote in support of independence was nearly 90%, but official results have not yet been released.

Turnout was relatively low at a reported 42%, potentially weakening the position of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

On Monday evening, the Spanish national football team abandoned a training session in Madrid after fans booed and whistled at defender Gerard Pique, who has strongly backed the Catalan referendum.

Guardia Civil police mingled among the crowd, as some fans waved Spanish flags and anti-Pique placards.

Pique plays for FC Barcelona, which announced that it had joined the strike. "None of the professional teams or the youth teams at FC Barcelona will train tomorrow," the club said on Monday evening.

'The street will always be ours'
Patrick Jackson, BBC News, Barcelona

Drumbeats thunder and echo up and down Laietana Street, where last night's anti-police protest of hundreds outside the city's National Police HQ has swollen into a roaring human river above which bob the lone-star flags of Catalan independence.

As a surveillance helicopter's blades beat time overhead, vans of the local Mossos police slowly negotiate the alleys as the force fulfils its peculiar role as both guardians of their national colleagues, and heroes of the crowd who cheer and chant: "Our police are here."

"It's more than a flag, it's like a feeling," says Roger Mayor, 18, as his friends show off the flags they are wearing.

"We think the Spanish government just want us for the money and they hate us. The Spanish police actions on Sunday were surreal. It felt like being in a horror film. We spent all day in a school [polling station] and we were very scared, though the police didn't come."

Xavi Alba, 28, and his mates pass by with a shopping trolley draped in the Catalan communist flag as the crowd chants: "The street will always be ours". It's stuffed with beer mostly, he explains while drinking a can.

"We go around Barcelona occupying the streets to protest at the repression. It's not about independence, it's about democracy. When we see people with Spanish flags, we just hug them. Yeah, they hug us too!"

Meanwhile, political leaders are trying to find a way forward.

Mr Puigdemont has said he wants a new understanding with the central government in Madrid, but the Spanish government has warned it could suspend autonomy of the wealthy north-eastern region.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41479048
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Re: Catalan referendum: Anti-police strike hits public servi

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:44 am

Catalan referendum: Region's independence 'in matter of days' :ymparty:

Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC.

In his first interview since Sunday's referendum, Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next".

Meanwhile, Spain's King Felipe VI said organisers of the vote put themselves "outside the law".

He said the situation in Spain was "extremely serious", calling for unity.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during the vote, during which nearly 900 people were hurt.

During the vote, 33 police officers were also injured, local medical officials said.

In the BBC interview, Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next".

When asked what he would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, Mr Puigdemont said it would be "an error which changes everything".

Mr Puigdemont said there was currently no contact between the government in Madrid and his devolved administration.

He disagreed with the European Commission's statement on Monday that events in Catalonia were an internal issue for Spain.

He was speaking shortly before the king's speech.

In his televised address to the nation, the king said the Catalan leaders who organised the referendum showed their "disrespect to the powers of the state".

"They have broken the democratic principles of the rule of law.

"Today, the Catalan society is fractured," the king said, warning that the poll could put at risk the economy of the wealthy north-eastern region and the whole of Spain.

But he stressed that Spain "will overcome difficult times".

The central government has described the referendum as illegal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41493014
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Re: Catalan: Region's independence 'in matter of days"

PostAuthor: Benny » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:37 am


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Re: Catalan: Region's independence 'in matter of days"

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:39 am

As King this creep is only trying to try and give himself an air of importance - but he has NO importance - nobody cares anything about him and for the most part he is a total non-entity :ymdevil:
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Re: Catalan: Region's independence 'in matter of days"

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:19 pm

Puigdemont: Spanish king ignored millions of Catalans

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has attacked Spain's King Felipe VI for "deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans".

In a TV address, Mr Puigdemont accused the king of adopting the Spanish government's position.

"This moment calls for mediation," he said. He has indicated that Catalonia could declare independence next week.

King Felipe made his own TV address on Tuesday night, calling Sunday's Catalan referendum illegal and undemocratic.

Twenty-four hours later, Mr Puigdemont claimed that the king had rejected a moderating role granted to him by the Spanish constitution.

Mr Puigdemont told the BBC on Tuesday that he would declare independence "at the end of this week or the beginning of next".

The Catalan government has said there will be an extraordinary meeting of parliament on Monday to discuss the outcome of the disputed referendum.

While Catalan officials put the vote in support of independence at nearly 90%, final results have not yet been released. The turnout has been estimated as 42%.

In his statement on Wednesday evening, Mr Puigdemont did not give any further details of a possible declaration of independence.

Switching to Spanish from Catalan, he thanked Spanish citizens who had sent their "solidarity" to Catalonia.

The Catalan leader has previously called for mediation, but the Spanish government has rejected any involvement of third parties.

What happened on Sunday?

Nearly 900 people were hurt as police violently tried to enforce a Spanish court order suspending the vote, which the government had declared illegal.

Some police officers were seen firing rubber bullets, storming into polling stations and pulling women by their hair.

Thirty-three police officers were also injured, local medical officials said.

Shocked by what they had seen, hundreds of thousands of Catalans joined street protests on Tuesday. A general strike was also called in protest at "the grave violation of rights and freedoms" seen during the ballot.

It was a rare public attack on the Spanish monarch but King Felipe himself, symbol of national unity, seldom addresses the country on TV, and President Puigdemont had to respond.

At a bar in the Catalan leader's home region, they clapped respectfully afterwards, happy with their leader and his call for mediation, and then they joked about the Game of Thrones TV series.

"We need a king like Jon Snow who tries to keep his lands together and is with the people," said one woman, laughing.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, by common agreement, was the Night King, wishing eternal winter on Catalonia.

"I want a Spain that cares for all its cultures," she added more seriously. "Why not love them all? We don't understand the speech of Felipe VI."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41503429
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Re: Puigdemont: Spanish king ignored millions of Catalans

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:49 pm

Catalan crisis: Spanish court bars MPs' independence move

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Pro-independence demonstrations have continued, following Sunday's referendum

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended next Monday's session of the Catalan parliament, in a bid to pre-empt a possible push for independence.

The court said such a move would be "a breach of the constitution".

Earlier Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned Catalonia's regional government against declaring independence after a disputed vote last Sunday.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont had indicated that he could make such a declaration at next week's session.

The court's ruling on Thursday upheld a challenge not from the government in Madrid, but by the Socialists' Party of Catalonia, which opposes secession from Spain.

Allowing the regional parliament to meet and declare independence, the court said, would violate the rights of the party's MPs.

An earlier ruling by the court aimed at stopping Sunday's vote was ignored by Catalonia's leaders. That challenge to the court had come from Spain's government, which condemned the referendum as illegal.

The socialists won almost 13% of the vote in the 2015 election, and has 13 MPs in the 135-seat regional parliament.

Organisers of Sunday's vote put the turnout at 42%, with 2.2 million people taking part. They say 90% voted for independence, however they have not published final results. There have been several claims of irregularities.

There was violence at polling stations as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court decision to ban the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters.

How the crisis escalated

    1 October: Catalonia holds banned referendum on independence, defying Spanish government and a Constitutional Court ruling; Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says the independence camp has won.

    2 October: The European Commission says it regards the referendum as illegal and an independent Catalonia would be outside the EU.

    3 October: In a TV address, King Felipe said referendum organisers had showed their "disrespect to the powers of the state" and broken the rule of law.

    4 October: Mr Puigdemont says a declaration of independence will come within days; the government says it will not give in to "blackmail"

    5 October: Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy urges Catalan leaders not to declare independence. Constitutional Court bans session of Catalan parliament due on Monday.

Also on Thursday, the board of Sabadell, a major bank, decided to transfer its headquarters from Barcelona to the south-eastern Spanish city of Alicante.

CaixaBank, another large Barcelona-based institution, is reported to be considering a similar move. This would ensure the banks remained within the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank.

Rajoy's gambit

Analysis by BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler, Madrid

Mariano Rajoy is famous for his "wait-and-see" attitude in crises. He's more of a technocrat than a passionate politician. So far, it's served him well. While not wildly popular, he remains very much in control of Spain's central government.

But the Catalan question is risky for him. His apparent inertia this week is coming under fire from the Spanish left - who want him to start a dialogue with Catalan separatists - and the harder right who want him to take immediate action, shutting the Catalan government down, bringing the reins of power back to Madrid. Spaniards call it "the nuclear option".

In a nod to them on Thursday, Mr Rajoy warned of "greater damage" if Catalan separatists went ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence. Spain's constitutional court has now banned Monday's meeting of the Catalan parliament where that declaration was expected to be made.

While this may appear a setback for the separatists, they have ignored court rulings before. But Mr Rajoy hopes the weight of Spanish law will now serve to divide Catalonia's pro-independence parties - which range from the moderate to the radical - and weaken their resolve.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41514398
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Re: Catalan crisis: Spanish court bars MPs' independence mov

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:14 pm

Spain apologises to injured Catalans

The Spanish government's representative in Catalonia has apologised to those injured during police efforts to stop Sunday's independence referendum.

But Enric Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote.

Meanwhile the government in Madrid has issued a decree making it easier for companies to move their headquarters away from Catalonia.

A Catalan minister told the BBC his government would go ahead with an independence debate in parliament. :ymapplause:

"Parliament will discuss, parliament will meet," said Catalan foreign affairs chief Raül Romeva. "Every attempt the Spanish government has used to impede things to happen, they have been demonstrated completely not only useless but counter-productive," he told the BBC in English.

In the first apology by a Spanish government official over the violence on Sunday, which saw hundreds injured as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters, Mr Millo said he could not help but "regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened".

Friday has seen a number of political, business and judicial developments in the unfolding crisis in Catalonia.

The political developments

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont now plans to address the Catalan parliament on Tuesday at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the speaker of the parliament says.

Spain's Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

There is speculation that the parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting, based on last Sunday's disputed vote.

The final results from the outlawed poll show 90% of the 2.3m people who voted backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

There have been several claims of irregularities, and many ballot boxes were seized by the Spanish police.

After a cabinet meeting, the Spanish government spokesman also expressed regret that people had "suffered consequences" during Sunday's vote - though he cast doubt on the numbers who had been injured.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo suggested that new elections in Catalonia might be a way to heal the fracture caused by the disputed referendum.

The business developments

Madrid's decree making it easier for companies to relocate their legal base away from Catalonia means such a decision will now not need the prior approval of shareholders.

    According to media reports, the board of Barcelona-based Gas Natural Fenosa voted on Friday to move its headquarters to Madrid. The multinational utility company supplies gas and electricity to customers in Spain and beyond

    CaixaBank, a large Barcelona-based institution, has decided to move its headquarters from Barcelona to the city of Valencia. The bank said in a statement that it had taken the decision "in light of the current political and social situation in Catalonia"

    Sabadell, another major Barcelona bank, decided to transfer its legally registered base from Barcelona to the south-eastern Spanish city of Alicante on Thursday. Its HQ and workforce will remain in Barcelona

This would ensure the banks remained within the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank, even if Catalonia broke away from Spain.

Catalonia is Spain's richest region and accounts for 19% of Spain's GDP.

The judicial developments

Meanwhile, the Catalan chief of police, Josep Lluis Trapero, has appeared before a judge in a national criminal court in Madrid on suspicion of sedition against the state.

His Mossos d'Esquadra force is accused of failing to help Guardia Civil police tackle thousands of pro-independence protesters outside the Catalan Economy Department in Barcelona on 20 September during the run up to the referendum.

The Guardia Civil submitted an official accusation against the Mossos.

In a statement, the Mossos said Mr Trapero had told the court that the force had not been made aware of the Guardia Civil action.

"The Mossos were not notified sufficiently in advance... and this forced them to adjust to the circumstances accordingly. The first they heard of the Spanish police's intended action was through the media," the statement said.

"Appropriate measures were taken ... In his opinion, he did not commit any crime of sedition or participated or collaborated in any such crime or any other."

Another Catalan police officer and two leading independence activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, are also being investigated in Madrid.

They all left the court after Friday morning's hearing without facing any Spanish restrictions.

Leading newspaper El Pais says the allegation of sedition is extraordinary in post-Franco democratic Spain.

As recently as August, the Mossos was being widely praised for quickly tackling the Islamist cell that carried out the Barcelona terror attack in that month.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41523250
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Re: Catalonia referendum: Spain apologises to injured Catala

PostAuthor: Benny » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:43 am

Looks like the Mayor of Barcelona just got cold feet :shock:

https://www.google.se/amp/s/www.bbc.co. ... e-41562155

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Re: Catalonia referendum: Spain apologises to injured Catala

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:04 pm

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is facing growing pressure to drop plans to break from Spain ahead of a key address to the regional parliament.

There is speculation he may announce a unilateral declaration of independence following a disputed referendum.

Catalan police have been posted outside parliament in Barcelona, sealing off the grounds to the public.

The mayor of Barcelona has urged Mr Puigdemont and Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy to "de-escalate" the crisis.

Mr Puigdemont's address, which is due at 18:00 (16:00 GMT), comes after a vote was held on 1 October which Catalan officials say resulted in almost 90% of voters backing independence. Turnout was put at 43%.

The vote was deemed illegal by Madrid and suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court. "No" voters largely boycotted the ballot and there were several reports of irregularities. National police were involved in violent scenes as they manhandled voters.


The fairest thing to do and the ONLY viable solution is to allow Catalan to hold UNHAMPERED elections :D

In reality TWICE the majority of those who have voted have voted for INDEPENDENCE

Does Catalan really have to make it 'third time lucky' in order to prove how much they want to be FREE X(
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Re: Catalonia referendum: Spain apologises to injured Catala

PostAuthor: Benny » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:58 am

After last night's speech- if I were one of the catalonians who have voted for independence - I would feel PRETTY disappointed :shock:

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Re: Catalonia referendum: Spain apologises to injured Catala

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:42 pm

Spain issues deadline to separatists

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given Catalonia's separatist leader five days to say whether or not he has declared independence.

If Carles Puigdemont confirms by Monday that he has, he will be given a further three days to withdraw the declaration.

Failing that, Madrid will invoke Article 155 of the constitution allowing it to suspend the region's autonomy and impose direct rule.

Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence on Tuesday.

However, they halted its implementation to allow for talks with Madrid.

Spain has been in turmoil since the separatist government held a disputed referendum in Catalonia on 1 October which was declared invalid by the country's Constitutional Court.

Almost 90% of voters backed independence with a turnout of 43%, Catalan officials say. Anti-independence voters largely boycotted the ballot and there were several reports of irregularities.

National police were involved in violent scenes as they tried to stop the vote taking place.

Mr Rajoy said his government had asked the regional government to clarify whether or not it had declared independence.

He accused Mr Puigdemont of having created "deliberate confusion" and said he wanted to restore "certainty".

"This call - ahead of any of the measures that the government may adopt under Article 155 of our constitution - seeks to offer citizens the clarity and security that a question of such importance requires," Mr Rajoy said.

"There is an urgent need to put an end to the situation that Catalonia is going through - to return it to safety, tranquillity and calm and to do that as quickly as possible."

Mr Rajoy was speaking after holding an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the government's next steps.

Speaking later in parliament, Mr Rajoy said Spain was facing the most serious threat to its 40-year-old democracy.

He accused the separatists of hatching an "anti-democratic plan foisting their will on all the people of Catalonia", and said the Spanish government had had no choice but to restore order.

"It falls to the Catalan leader to restore constitutional normality," he told deputies, rejecting any suggestion of outside mediation in the dispute.

He added that he was willing to negotiate on the issue of regional autonomy and changes to the constitution - but this had to be within the framework of the law.

What happens next?

Katya Adler, BBC Europe editor, Madrid

Spain's prime minister tried today to put the ball back in the Catalan court. He has asked the Catalan president to clarify if he is making a declaration of independence or not.

In the meantime, sources in the Senate (Spain's upper house of parliament, where Prime Minister Rajoy's Popular Party has a majority) say the request has been made to trigger Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, under which Mr Rajoy would be able to suspend Catalan autonomy - possibly immediately, or bit by bit.

Article 155 has never been used before, so we are in a kind of Brexit situation before Article 50 was triggered. The article legally exists but there are disagreements about how far-reaching it is, how it would/should work (and how quickly) in practice.

Reports in Spanish media have suggested that if the Spanish prime minister were to activate Article 155 in the absence of a response from the Catalan president, pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament would then declare independence.

The leader of the opposition Socialists, Pedro Sanchez, told reporters that his party and the government had agreed to examine the possibility of using constitutional reform to end the crisis.

This would be focused on "how Catalonia remains in Spain, and not how it leaves", he added.

Addressing the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on Tuesday evening, Mr Puigdemont said the autonomous region had won the right to be independent as a result of the vote.

He urged the international community to recognise Catalonia as an independent and sovereign state.

He said the "people's will" was to break away from Madrid but he also said he wanted to "de-escalate" the tension around the issue.

With this in mind he announced that he was "suspending the effects of the declaration of independence" for more talks with the Madrid government, which he said were needed to reach a solution.

He and other Catalan leaders then signed the declaration of independence. It is not clear if the declaration has any legal status.

Crowds of independence supporters in Barcelona cheered Mr Puigdemont's initial remarks but many expressed disappointment as he clarified his stance.

Catalonia is is one of Spain's wealthiest regions but a stream of companies has announced plans to move head offices out of the province in response to the crisis.

The European Union has made clear that should Catalonia split from Spain, the region would cease to be part of the EU.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41588819
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Re: Catalonia referendum: Spain apologises to injured Catala

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:52 am

Catalan Clock Ticks as Puigdemont Pressured by Separatist Allies

Secessionist allies piled pressure on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to formally declare independence from Spain as a deadline looms for him to clarify his stance or face being stripped of his powers by the central government in Madrid.

CUP, a radical party that’s part of Puigdemont’s pro-independence coalition in the Catalan parliament, published a letter on Friday saying that the only way to protect democracy and civil rights would be to proclaim a republic. The Catalan National Assembly, a separatist civic group that organizes street protests, also called on him to go ahead with a declaration of independence.

The clock is ticking in Catalonia toward an Oct. 16 deadline set by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy that risks triggering the suspension of self-rule from Barcelona. Rajoy, who reviewed the troops at a military parade in Madrid on Thursday to mark Spain’s national day, is turning the screws on Puigdemont as he tries to hold his coalition together in the face of threatened legal reprisals for challenging the country’s constitutional order.

“We have a very serious problem facing us which is a coup d’etat against democracy,” Rafael Hernando, the head of Rajoy’s People’s Party group in parliament, said in an interview with TV channel Antena 3 Friday. “The state has many resources to confront this challenge so that no one carves up Spain.”

Hernando said he “wasn’t very optimistic” about Puigdemont’s response because he has already taken the region to a state of confrontation that had resulted in more than 400 firms being “expelled” to other parts of Spain.

Catalan Parliament

In a speech to the Catalan parliament on Oct. 10, Puigdemont claimed the right to declare independence but stepped back from putting it into effect as he called for dialogue. Rajoy responded the next day by demanding that the Catalan president clarify his position on the independence declaration or face a possible suspension of the region’s autonomy beginning Oct. 19.

Spain’s benchmark IBEX 35 stock index was little changed at 4:55 p.m. in Madrid, after losing 2.3 percent between an Oct. 1 referendum on independence illegal under Spanish law and Puigdemont’s address to lawmakers. Puigdemont must now decide whether to take the path of further confrontation with Madrid or risk losing his allies in Barcelona.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the government may have to consider revising its economic growth forecast for 2018 if the Catalan crisis continues.

“The situation we’re living through in Catalonia prompts us to be more prudent,” she said in a news conference after a cabinet meeting in Madrid on Friday. The Catalan government still has time to return to legality but any negotiation would have to be within the framework of the law, she said.

“Neither CUP nor the ANC lead the government of Catalonia,” former Catalan President Artur Mas said in an interview with regional broadcaster TV3. “There is a government and a president that have to take the decisions, the Catalan parliament is something else. The government can receive advice, recommendations, pressure, but it’s still the government that takes decisions.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wouldn’t like to see Catalonia secede because it could lead to a greatly inflated European Union. “I wouldn’t like a European Union which in 15 years consists of 98 states,” he said at a conference in Luxembourg. “It’s difficult enough already with 28.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... lock-ticks
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Re: Catalan Puigdemont Pressured by Separatist Allies

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:48 am

Madrid is set to make a statement about Catalan independence at 10.30 CET

It comes after Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy threatened to impose direct rule on Catalonia unless the region’s leader Carles Puigdemont retracts by 10am CET an ambiguous declaration of independence he made last week.

Puigdemont declared independence following a referendum but then suspended it and called for talks with Madrid.

Rajoy is likely to impose article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, which allows him to take control of a region if it breaks the law.

Puigdemont told members of his Catalan Democratic Party on Wednesday night that not only he would not back down but that he would press ahead with a more formal declaration of independence if Rajoy suspends Catalonia’s political autonomy.

http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/19/madr ... osition-on
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Re: Catalan Puigdemont Pressured by Separatist Allies

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:40 pm

The two jailed activists behind Catalonia’s independence movement

Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart are not well-known names in Europe, or even in Spain. But the two wield extraordinary influence in the tense drama now unfolding in restive Catalonia. Because in a few short hours, through their organizations and networks, with a tweet or a text, the activist duo can put 100,000 people on the street.

It was this remarkable ability to stage some of the largest peaceful demonstrations in Europe — and the power of their message promoting a democratic and independent Catalonia — that steered the two toward an almost inevitable collision with the central government in Madrid.

Sánchez and Cuixart, who both espouse nonviolence, are now sitting in jail cells at the Soto del Real prison in Madrid, held in preventive detention, without bail, on charges of sedition against the state, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

They were arrested Monday as part of a government crackdown that seeks to stifle the secessionist movement in Catalonia.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has called the independence movement and its leaders reckless, even dangerous, rebels. Their chaotic independence referendum earlier this month was deemed illegal by Rajoy and constitutional judges. Riot police were ordered to stop it, producing wild scenes — beamed around the world — of officers whipping citizens with rubber batons and dragging them away from ballot boxes.

The Spanish news media outside Catalonia has generally viewed the pair as skilled troublemakers, misguided at best, but worthy of respect because of their clout.

Cuixart, 42, is a dashing figure who favors black leather jackets. A high school dropout, he is a self-made man who founded a successful business that exports packaging machinery. He leads the Catalan group Omnium Cultural, which backed the independence referendum.

Sánchez, 53, looks like the rumpled university professor he is. He teaches at the University of Barcelona and is president of the Catalan National Assembly, which is not an elected body but a pro-independence group that boasts about 80,000 members.

Sánchez is seen as especially effective. He is “a professional agitator, a gladiator who doesn’t rest,” Spain’s El Mundo newspaper said. “He has been insisting on Catalan independence for three years, from the political arena and from the streets, which is the place he feels most at home.”

Compared with Sánchez and Cuixart, regional politicians in Catalonia are amateurs at the art and science of mass mobilizations, according to the Spanish news media.

The two — alongside unions, student groups and an alphabet soup of Catalan political parties and civic organizations — have been instrumental in producing vast crowds of demonstrators, who have turned out by the hundreds of thousands with flags and banners, chanting, “The streets are ours!” and “Let us vote!”

Their wives told The Washington Post that they had not been allowed to visit their husbands in prison but that they had spoken with them by telephone.

The two men are housed in separate wings of the prison, so their communication with each other is limited. One of their associates joked that Sánchez and Cuixart are allowed to see each other in the prison chapel, “so they have become more devout.”

Their wives say that the two men remain strong but that sedition is a serious charge at such a highly politicized moment. They worry that their husbands are being held hostage.

Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, who is pushing for independence, calls the two “political prisoners.”

He said their incarceration “is the shame of Europe.”

“The lawyers cannot say how long, but they tell me, get ready, this could take time,” said Susanna Barreda Cortiella, the wife of Jordi Sánchez.

Barreda said her husband can be stubborn. When he commits to something, “he goes all the way,” she said. “He never backs down.”

She recalled that as a young man, he refused compulsory military service. When offered alternatives to avoid punishment, he declined, Barreda said. She said he burns with a passion for an independent Catalonia.

“They went after them first, because it’s easier to arrest two civil society leaders than to jail elected officials or the chief of police,” Barreda said.

The showdown in Catalonia edged toward constitutional crisis this week, following the central government’s announcement Thursday that it would move quickly to assert control of the autonomous region after its president refused to end his push for independence.

Rajoy, the prime minister, will convene an emergency cabinet meeting Saturday to begin the unprecedented process of invoking Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, which would allow Madrid to seize control of the autonomous government in Catalonia, including its finances, public media and police.

The sedition charges against the two men arise from a Sept. 20 demonstration outside the Barcelona offices of the regional vice president and the Economic Ministry. Members of Spain’s Civil Guard police entered the building, arrested 14 employees and minor officials, and seized documents that authorities say were to be used to stage the illegal referendum.

A demonstration quickly grew to many thousands and lasted for hours.According to witnesses and video, the protesters effectively blocked the Civil Guard officers, clad in riot gear, from leaving the building. The demonstration was peaceful, until some in the crowd began to cover the Civil Guard vehicles with pro-democracy stickers, then spray-painted them, finally smashing the windows and filling the interiors with trash

At one point, Sánchez and Cuixart jumped on the roof of one of the cars and addressed the crowd, eventually urging them to leave the area peacefully.

The leaders pride themselves on organizing mass protests that proceed down Barcelona’s elegant streets without incident, their progress coordinated with regional police.

“So now my husband is in jail, and I feel sad for him,” said Txell Bonet, Cuixart’s wife.

“You might think my situation and my daily life is difficult,” said Bonet, the mother of a 6-month-old. “But I don’t feel that. I feel when they arrest Jordi, the government is attacking everybody. This is an injustice we are all suffering.”

When people tell her how sorry they are, she said, she thinks, “Just wait. They can come for you, too.”

The arrest of the two secessionists may give Spain a black eye in Europe, but so far the European leadership has backed Madrid, decrying the police violence but also insisting that the referendum was illegal and remains an internal affair.

Pro-independence activists, overall, seem anxious about what happens next. But they think they will ultimately prevail.

“We have a big problem. Spain has a huge problem,” Oriol Junqueras, vice president of the Catalan regional government, told The Washington Post. He said the arrest of the two activists only stokes anger and bolsters the case for independence.

“Of course, they are political prisoners,” he said. “They’ve been jailed because of their acts in front of this very building where we are sitting, where they told the people to go home in peace.”

Junqueras said the two have been scrupulous and relentless in their message of nonviolence.

“At the end, officials like me don’t matter so much,” he said. “What matters is what the people want. The people here will ­decide.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eu ... 222822eceb
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