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Spanish gov't to take measures if Catalonia region unilaterally declares independence

10 October 2017

A crowd estimated by local police to number 350,000 waved Spanish and Catalan flags and carried banners saying "Catalonia is Spain" and "Together we are stronger".

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.

Last week, he said he planned to formally declared independence from Spain "at the end of this week or the beginning of next", while also calling for worldwide help in solving the crisis through mediation.

Protesters on Sunday called for the imprisonment of Mr Puigdemont after he pledged to push for independence.

"We reach out for dialogue but we'll support the response of the rule of law in the face of any attempt to break social harmony".

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"This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics", she urged.

The minister also reiterated Brussels' warning that an independent Catalonia would "automatically" be out of the European Union and have to reapply to join.

Catalonia's leader has announced a statement for 9:00 PM CET, which fueled speculation that Catalonia will unilaterally declare independence.

France, which borders Catalonia, said it would not recognise a unilateral independence declaration.

When asked whether this meant he would trigger Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which means the central government can take direct control of an autonomous region which declares independence, he said he would not "rule anything out".

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Puigdemont is set to appear in the parliament of Catalonia on Tuesday after Monday meeting was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

But pressure builds: Spain's deputy prime minister, Sáenz de Santamaría, warned in a radio interview that the government will make decisions to "restore the law and democracy", if Puigdemont makes a declaration of independence. Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa said that about 930,000 people had gathered, adding that "for some time now, nationalism has been wreaking havoc in Catalonia and that's why we're here, to stop it".

On Friday the Madrid government passed an emergency declaration that allows companies to move their headquarters without a formal vote of shareholders.

Whatever happens this week, it's clear that there are deep divisions over the issue, not only between Madrid and Barcelona, but within Catalonia as well. Less than half the electorate of the region participated in the vote last Sunday.

Catalonia accounts for almost a fifth of Spain's economy, and leads all regions in producing 25% of the country's exports, CNNMoney reports.

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Spanish gov't to take measures if Catalonia region unilaterally declares independence