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Catalonia's leader: 'We will declare independence in a matter of days'

05 October 2017

"In the case of independence, the club and the members would have to decide in which league we would play", Bartomeu said.

The Catalan government is set to declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, regional leader Carles Puigdemont has said. When asked when that would be, Puigdemont said "this will probably finish once we have all the votes in from overseas at the end of the week".

"I am not the only one who has this, lots of other people picked them up", the 22-year-old engineering student said as he held the rubber bullet.

He said the Madrid government's refusal to negotiate had left Catalonia "no other way" than to declare independence and accused it of authoritarianism. They were discussing the "conspiracy", the director of communications for the Catalonia government told ABC News. 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.

The silence of the EU on Madrid's excesses against the Catalan separatists may not bode well for its credibility among Europeans, especially among newly formed fledgling states of the future, like Catalonia. These are very complex moments, but we will move forward.

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The Catalan leader is due to make a statement at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Wednesday. The bloody scenes brought global condemnation. Spain's Interior Ministry says 431 National Police and Civil Guard agents were injured, too.

Protesters blocked major roads in Catalonia and there was little public transport. Stoppages also affected production at Nestle's instant coffee plant in Girona.

"There are people who interpret the Constitution like the Bible, like it contains absolute truths, that it's more important than the will of the people", the Catalonian leader said.

The former midfielder also called for answers from Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, whom he suggested should focus on fairly governing every Spanish citizen - including Catalans - until the independence issue reaches its conclusion.

More than 840 people needed medical attention after riot police clashed with some of those attempting to participate in the controversial vote on secession, which the Spanish government had ruled illegal.

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Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, is one of Spain's economic powerhouses. Officials said turnout was about 42 percent of the region's 5.34 million registered voters.

"Given their turbulent history and strong ties to the economy, short-sellers will target Spanish banks during any political instability involving Catalonia", he added.

Earlier on Wednesday the EU's executive had called for the Spanish and Catalan governments to begin talks over the biggest political challenge Spain has faced since its return to democracy four decades ago - but said Madrid had the right to use "proportionate force" to uphold the law. "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".

Meanwhile, Spain's Ambassador to Ireland has said nobody disputes the right of voters to vote, but that the referendum in Catalonia was illegal from the beginning. Expect also the first European Parliament debate on the stand-off. A Catalan flag was removed from the plenary at the demand of a Spanish lawmaker, while some parliamentarians displayed signs supporting the referendum or calling for Rajoy to resign.

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Catalonia's leader: 'We will declare independence in a matter of days'