Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Catalans pledge to pursue independence


Catalonia’s separatist leadership said nothing would stop it setting up an independent republic, dismissing the condemnation of Spanish King Felipe VI as the breakaway region’s president prepared to deliver his own address last night.

Regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said the monarch’s criticism of Sunday’s illegal referendum, with no reference to the police violence that saw more than 800 people injured, had given a “free bar” to state forces as they try to shut down the secessionists.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has said he expects to declare independence within days.

The king’s reaction was “a mistake from every point of view,” Turull said in an interview on the regional government’s TV channel.

He said Catalonia does not answer to the monarchy.

“It’s a republic or a republic,” he said.

The clash between Madrid and the rebel administration in Barcelona is escalating again after the king, whose word traditionally carries weight in Spain, sought to impose his authority in a televised statement on Tuesday night.

He condemned the “unacceptable disloyalty” of the Catalan leaders and vowed to keep Spain together.

The parties holding the majority of seats in the regional parliament, Junts pel Si and the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, have asked Puigdemont to address lawmakers on Monday, a spokesman for the assembly said.

Spain is facing its biggest constitutional crisis since the death of former Spanish prime minister Francisco Franco in 1975. The country was later rocked by an attempted coup in 1981 that was faced down by Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos.

The threat of secession by Catalonia, which accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s entire economic output, is also piling political pressure on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his minority government.

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