King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

In addition to Catalonia's eagerness to secede, the Catalan crisis is reshaping Spain's political landscape well before the next scheduled election while also highlighting problems for the European Union.

The Spanish monarch "ignores millions of Catalans who think in a different way" to the central government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, he said.

Protesters in the streets of Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, chanted phrases that translate to "independence", "fascism is not back" and "Spanish occupiers", with a certain nervous excitement about how the independence referendum would be implemented concretely.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, the Catalan government announced that 90 percent of nearly 2.3 million voters had cast ballots in favor of independence.

The European Commission said Monday that "violence can never be an instrument in politics" but did not make any other allusion to the violence during the vote.

"None of us want to see violence in our societies". "It's time to talk, finding a way out of the impasse, working within the constitutional order of Spain", he said.

About 700,000 people have taken to the streets in Barcelona, city police were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

This Monday the Spanish prime minister was expected to hold urgent talks with Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the main opposition Socialist party, as well as Albert Rivera, the head of the centrist Ciudadanos party.

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The Catalan club played behind closed doors at the Nou Camp on Sunday, beating Las Palmas 3-0 in La Liga, as a protest against Spain using force to prevent voters taking part in a banned referendum to decide the region's fate.

The Spanish government took a strong stance against the referendum ahead of the vote by raiding offices, shutting down pro-independence websites, and arresting officials.

In an interview to the BBC on Tuesday, the breakaway region's president, Carles Puigdemont, said he does not plan to delay the declaration of independence for much longer and is ready to "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next". He also urged Spain's national police reinforcements to leave the region. "Some have tried to break the rule of law, and we have answered with serenity and sanity".

If nothing else, it has helped shift the debate from the issue of independence - which has split Catalans, and for which there had not been majority backing - to the more basic question of whether Catalans have a right to decide on statehood.

And today the European Union executive called for the Spanish Government and Catalan authorities to open dialogue to defuse the sometimes violent confrontation over calls for Catalonia's independence.

"If the Madrid government thought it was going to be able to crush the referendum and crush the Catalans on Sunday in the way it did with the police, then they misjudged it badly".

Puigdemont's remarks came shortly before King Felipe VI of Spain gave a rare political address, criticising Catalonian officials for flouting the Spanish constitution.

"On one side it is a hassle to try to get to work in the midst of a strike", she said.

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