Spain can stop Catalan independence: PM Mariano Rajoy

Posted October 10, 2017

"While the Spanish authorities, as you all know, put a great deal of effort into making that vote as hard as ever, the Catalans responded in a way I'd never seen before: by making paella".

Madrid had also made it clear that they will respond immediately should Catalonia announce any unilateral declaration. "It seems that the one who yells the most wins the argument". Basically the only difference between Catalonia and Scotland is we have the mechanism [to become independent] and Catalonia doesn't have it in the constitution.

Around 350,000 people attended the demonstration, according to local police, and 950,000, according to the organizers.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-Spanish unity supporters marched through the streets of Barcelona yesterday, exactly a week after voters in a banned referendum in Catalonia voted overwhelmingly in favour of breaking away from Spain. "The unity of Spain can not be voted on or negotiated - it must be defended", read one sign in the crowd. Others called for dialogue.

Organizers say the slogan for Sunday's rally is "Enough, let's recover good sense".

And Pablo Casado, a spokesman for the Popular Party, warned that if history repeats itself, then Puigdemont could "end up" like the region's former leader, Lluis Companys, media reports said.

Abertis, a corporation which runs more than 8,000 kilometres of motorways in Europe and America and which employs more than 16,000 people, was likely to move its legal headquarters from Barcelona to another part of Spain after a board meeting on Monday. "I rule out absolutely nothing that is allowed for under the law", he said in an interview with El Pais newspaper. "Ideally, we should not have to resort to drastic solutions, but in that case there would have to be rectifications". Separatist politicians have said there will be a declaration of independence during that session, although some ruling coalition lawmakers say the move would be "symbolic".

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Spain has been rocked by the referendum results and the police violence seen against voters in Catalonia has sparked a huge backlash.

A violent crackdown by police seeking to thwart the vote in the region sparked an worldwide outcry. Puigdemont is scheduled to address the regional parliament on Tuesday evening. Rajoy has warned Catalonia not to act on an October 1 independence referendum.

Still, Rajoy was being as explicit as possible in warning that the national government in Madrid would not stand for such a declaration.

The region, home to 7.5 million people with their own language and cultural traditions, accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy. Mr Rajoy also promised that both the Civil Guard and the Spanish national police would remain in Catalonia "until things return to normal".

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and first minister, dodged the recognition question on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, saying: "It's not for me to decide what is the right future for Catalonia. What they are doing is destroying it".

Catalan officials reported that more than 90% of the 2.2 million who voted in the October 1 referendum backed independence, and claimed that a further 800,000 people were prevented from voting.