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Spain's Prime Minister May Suspend Catalonia's Autonomy

12 October 2017, 01:01 | Percy Christensen

Spain's Prime Minister May Suspend Catalonia's Autonomy

Catalonia referendum: Call for pro-unity rallies in Spain

Spanish unionists in Catalonia finally found their voice on Sunday, resurrecting Spain's flag as a symbol of patriotism after decades of it being associated with the Franco dictatorship.

Financially, the 2008 recession crisis provided momentum as people of the wealthiest of the 17 semi-autonomous Spanish regions felt that tourist-Mecca capital Barcelona gave more than it got from Madrid.

Catalan separatists have called on regional president Carles Puigdemont to declare independence in defiance of the central government when he addresses the regional parliament on Tuesday evening.

Spanish politics has been plunged into disarray since Catalonia held an independence referendum a week ago.

Saturday saw water management company SGAB announce the relocation of its legal headquarters to Madrid, Friday saw Gas Natural Fenosa announce the same decision adding that this could be a temporary measure due to the political situation of uncertainty Catalonia is going through.

"There is a growing element of social frustration", said Alejandro Quiroga, professor of Spanish history at the University of Newcastle.

The rally Sunday was organized to show that the referendum, which attracted worldwide attention for a police crackdown that left hundreds injured, did not represent all Catalans. The march was peaceful and no major incidents were reported. In the days after the October 1 referendum, the momentum appeared to be on his side.

Meanwhile, Spain's government representative in Catalonia earlier apologized to those hurt during police efforts to stop the referendum.

But now the tide seems to be turning. Puigdemont declared he would seek a declaration of independence in the regional parliament anyway. Other companies are reportedly considering leaving Catalonia to avoid being cast out of the European Union and its common market in the case of secession.

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The country has been in a state of political upheaval since the northeast region held an independence referendum on October 1 - despite a constitutional court banning the vote and the Spanish government dispatching thousands of national police officers to prevent ballots from being cast.

Asked if he was ready to trigger the article 155 of the constitution, which enables him to sack the regional government and call a fresh local election, Rajoy answered: "I don't rule out absolutely anything that is within the law".

Large rallies were held Saturday in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities to demand that Rajoy and Puigdemont negotiate to find a solution to Spain's worst political crisis in almost four decades.

"I hope that nothing will happen".

Numerous people involved in the organization of the vote were activists aligned with the Assemblea Nacional Catalana, the main grassroots secessionist group that counts 40,000 members and another 40,000 sympathizers. One group held a large banner boasting "Marbella", a town on Spain's southern coast. CNN spoke to several protesters, all of whom were Catalan.

The crowd wore white T-shirts and respected the organisers' call to not bring Spanish or Catalan flags.

But all the same, to listen to Marti Anglada, representative of the Government of Catalonia in France, this day won to decide the fate of Catalonia is not denied. Opinion polls in July, 2017 show that more than 70% of Catalonia's populace favour referendum but are evenly divided on independence with 49 to 41 per cent in favour of united Spain.

Separatist sentiment surged after Spain's Constitutional Court in 2010 struck down parts of a Catalan autonomy charter that defined the region as a "nation".



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