France will not recognise unilateral Catalan declaration - Nathalie Loiseau

Casey Dawson
October 10, 2017

On Monday, Catalan leaders are now facing a huge pressure to drop their plans for independence as France and Germany have expressed their stance that Spain and Catalonia must remain together and remain was one nation.

Following the vote, Spanish King Felipe VI accused Catalan leaders of "disloyalty," saying the central government needed to ensure "constitutional order".

Some 300 people demonstrate with Catalan pro-independence "estelada" flags in front of the Spanish Consulate in Perpignan in France.

He said that he wants to talk "about Catalonia".

Careful not to undermine Rajoy, the European Union has merely called for dialogue between the sides.

Secession-minded lawmakers are meeting Tuesday in Catalonia and some say that is when they will declare independence for the northeastern region in Spain.

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

As a result, the two leaders have not been in contact for some time. "The unity of Spain can not be voted on or negotiated - it must be defended", read one sign in the crowd.

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While Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy did not attend but expressed his support in a tweet, a number of heavyweights from the ruling Partido Popular, including the president of the Madrid region, Cristina Cifuentes, took part.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said in an interview on Spanish radio that the government would invoke powers to take control of the regional government if Catalonia went ahead and declared independence.

Protests against an independent Catalonia were held across Spain over the weekend with an estimated 350,000 taking to the streets of Barcelona. With its own language and cultural traditions, demands for independence in Catalonia date back centuries but have surged during recent years of economic hardship.

At Sunday's rally, demonstrators cheered and applauded when a national police helicopter flew over and some people shook the hands of national police officers to thank them for their efforts to stop the referendum.

Delegates to the party's conference in Glasgow passed a resolution which "condemns the actions of the Spanish Civil Guard using disproportionate and unnecessary force against Catalan citizens".

On Sunday, Josep Borrell, a Catalan former president of the European Parliament, called on Puigdemont not to "push the country towards the cliff".

That shocked even many Catalans who were opposed to independence and sparked angry demonstrations against the police.

The Catalan authorities say more than 90 percent of those who voted backed secession, but opinion polls on the issue suggest the region is more closely divided.

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