Catalonia to declare independence in a 'matter of days'

Catalonia to declare independence in a 'matter of days'”

During an emergency debate on Spain's worst political crisis in decades, the leaders of the three main political blocs in the European Parliament all warned against such a move, saying it would inflame an already volatile situation still further.

Puigdemont plans to make a public statement Wednesday evening. Still, European leaders - many of them with separatist movements in their own back yards - were quick to voice support for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the national government and constitution.

The king's speech is unlikely to persuade Puigdemont.

Catalonia's regional president, Carles Puigdemont, is addressing regional lawmakers on Monday to review a referendum won by supporters of independence from Spain on October 1.

The central government and national courts considered the referendum illegal. Mr Rajoy has said that all options are on the table.

He said the Madrid government's refusal to negotiate had left Catalonia "no other way" than to declare independence and accused it of authoritarianism.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.1 percent at its close while Spain's IBEX posted a 2.9 percent loss.

Those two groups were involved in the September demonstrations.

Catalonia-headquartered Caixabank and Banco Sabadell, the stocks most sensitive to the rising political risk, sank 5 and 5.7 pct.

Several demonstrations unfolded throughout Catalonia on Tuesday.

Catalonia's president is due to speak later on Wednesday after secessionist regional lawmakers announced the region's independence declaration would be Monday.

Surveys taken in the months before Sunday's referendum show Catalans roughly divided between those who wanted an independent republic and those who wanted to remain in Spain.

Spain has been rocked by the poll and the Spanish police response to it, which saw batons and rubber bullets used to prevent people voting.

"To all Spanish, but especially to the Catalans, we live in a democratic country where you can defend your ideas under Spanish law", he said. "Therefore, it is important that the rule of law is adhered to in everything that is happening there politically". "I thought he would call for dialogue, that he would say that all sides sit and talk, but no". He told legislators in Brussels "all lines of communication must stay open. It's time to talk, to find a way out of the impasse".

Seibert noted that Merkel wasn't seeking to mediate the dispute between Madrid and Catalonia's regional government in Barcelona.

I do support the referendum on independence of Catalonia but following the legal way.

But the European Union, as well as Spain's central government, has condemned the vote as illegal and unconstitutional and are refusing to acknowledge the result.

Wednesday's crisis debate in parliament is due to kick off at 3pm (1300 GMT), but Catalonia dominated a morning session on preparations for a summit of European Union leaders later this month.

On Wednesday, Spanish prosecutors said they were investigating Josep Lluís Trapero, Catalonia's head of police, for sedition, the Financial Times reported.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia yesteday to protest against Sunday's violent crackdown by Spanish police on an outlawed independence referendum for the region. Spain's Constitutional Court prohibited the ballot, siding with Madrid which argued that it contravened the country's 1978 constitution which bars breaking up the country. Regional health official said that well over 700 people were wounded in the violence.

The protesters demanded from the Spanish militiamen to leave Catalonia.

Barcelona and the other Catalan clubs in the Spanish league - Girona and Espanyol - joined a strike Tuesday to protest the Spanish government's actions.

Puigdemont's announcement came shortly after a rare televised address by King Felipe VI, in which he lambasted Catalonian authorities for "repeatedly, consciously and deliberately" violating the constitution, laws providing for its status as an autonomous region, while "showing an inadmissible disloyalty to the powers of the state".

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