Catalonia LIVE: Spain on BRINK as King refuses to accept independence – millions rally
CATALONIA is preparing to declare independence in “a matter of days” despite the Spanish king strongly rejecting the referendum result last night. After Catalans took to the streets in protest against the police brutality on Sunday, here are live updates and the latest news.
- Catalonia is set to declare independence “in a matter of days”
- King Felipe has blasted the Catalan authorities for ‘lack of loyalty’ to Spain
- Pro-independence Catalans protested on the steets of Catalonia yesterday
- Voters overwhelmingly backed independence in the outlawed referendum on Sunday
- The Spanish government rejected the result because it says the referendum was illegal
- Nearly 900 protesters were injured as Spanish police forcibly tried to close polling stations
Here are live updates and the latest news on the ongoing crisis in Spain. (All times BST)
He added: ”It’s time to talk. To find a way out of the impasse, working within the constitutional order of Spain.”
3pm: Joe Tambini taking over live reporting from Reiss Smith
“If he says ‘we are going to start a constitutional process that will lead to independence’, that is a more conciliatory tone because he is leaving the door open to negotiations.”
Either way, the declaration will not be valid under Spanish law, Dr Pardo explained.
2.00pm: Reiss Smith taking over live reporting from Alice Foster
Catalonia will declare independence “in a matter of days”, the region’s secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont told the BBC.
Mr Puigdemont said that his government would defy Madrid and “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.
When what he would do if the Spanish government took control of Catalonia’s government, he said it would be “an error which changes everything”.
“They (the Catalan leaders) have infringed the system of legally approved rules with their decisions, showing an unacceptable disloyalty towards the powers of the state.”
He added said: “For a long time some entities in Catalonia have not followed the constitution or the law of this country which sets out the way this country is governed.
“This has shown a lack of loyalty to the Government of this country.”
The Catalan Government has said to does not want a “traumatic break” from Spain.
President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont said: “There is no button to push for independence, it does not exist.
“It is not a domestic matter. It’s obvious that we need mediation.
6.30pm: King of Spain to address nation amid Catalonia turmoil
King Felipe will make a televised public address to the people of Spain, after thousands of angry Catalonians marched through the streets to protest police violence during their independence referendum.
A spokesperson for the Spanish royal family told CNN that the statement will be made at 9am local time on Wednesday October 4.
6.15pm: Joe Tambini taking over live reporting from Alice Foster
5.30pm: Police crackdown ‘fires up’ campaign for independence
Pro-separatist Catalans took to the streets of Catalonia today to protest against Sunday’s violent crackdown by Spanish police.
One protester, Monica Ventinc, said: “What happened on Oct 1 has fired up independence feeling that will never die.”
“We are here to defend the rights and liberties of all Spaniards that have been trampled upon by the regional government.”
4.35pm: Scottish Government calls for UK to condemn violence
Fiona Hyslop, Holyrood’s External Affairs Secretary, said she had urged Boris Johnson to issue a “more robust statement unequivocally condemning the violence”.
She said: “The violent scenes witnessed on Sunday were shocking and unnecessary. This is a view shared amongst the international community.
“The Scottish Government are particularly disappointed by the response of the UK Government to the violent scenes.”
“The European Parliament will debate on constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in light of the events in Catalonia.”
1.47pm: FC Barcelona could ditch La Liga if Catalonia wins independence
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club would have to choose which football league to compete in if Catalonia gains independence from Spain.
He said: “This situation does not exist so far. But with regards to things that can happen in the future, it is something that the board of directors would discuss.
“It would be something to analyse calmly.”
The football club said it would be taking part in strikes today by closing its headquarters and cancelling training for professional and youth teams.
The Catalan club played in front of empty stands at the Nou Camp on Sunday as the independence referendum polling descended into chaos outside.
Many services under the control of the Catalan government did see some stoppages, with public transport running at around 40 percent, according to reports, while port workers and civil servants also walked out.
Normally busy metro stations in Barcelona were deserted as services were cut back sharply, pickets blocked traffic on Gran Via street and traffic on six major highways in the region was disrupted by protests.
Elsewhere, the response to the strike call was patchy with some shops, supermarkets and cafes open and some closed. The Boqueria market in Barcelona was almost empty.
Pro-independence groups and trade unions in Catalonia called a general strike for Tuesday after referendum on Catalan independence from Spain which had been banned by the constitutional court.
Scenes of armoured Spanish police swinging truncheons and firing rubber bullets at peaceful voters have been widely condemned, with the European Union calling for talks to break the stalemate between Madrid and Barcelona.Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the ballot had failed, while Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont vowed to continue with the independence process after millions voted to leave.
Some 900 people were injured on polling day when police fired rubber bullets and charged at crowds with truncheons to disrupt the vote.
Those who participated voted overwhelmingly for independence, a result that was expected since residents who favour remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the vote.
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.
Initial reporting by Alice Foster