Culture

Catalan separatists squeezed further as Spain tightens its grip

Catalan separatists squeezed further as Spain tightens its grip”

"He is deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans", the secessionist president said.

After a week of political drama that rocked financial markets, Rajoy will meet with his ministers in Madrid as events 600 kilometres to the northeast in the Catalan capital Barcelona threaten to spiral still further out of control.

Spanish shares and bonds, hit by the political turmoil in Catalonia, strengthened after the news of the court's decision.

For his part, Rajoy and his minority government will be loathe to risk a repeat of Sunday's scenes of police beating peaceful voters that drew global condemnation and inflamed the separatist cause.

He urged Mr Puigdemont to change course, saying that the solution in Catalonia was "the prompt return to legality and an affirmation, as early as possible, that there will be no unilateral declaration of independence, because that way greater evils will be avoided".

Thursday's court ruling raises the question of how the Spanish state will respond if Catalans decide to push ahead with Monday's session.

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild on Thursday, Puigdemont said he had not discounted the possibility that he could be arrested, but said he was not afraid. "My arrest is also possible, which would be a barbaric step". In a rare and strongly worded television address on Tuesday, the king described the regional government's actions as "an unacceptable attempt" to take over Catalan institutions and said it had placed itself outside democracy and the law.

Puigdemont's mainstream separatist group is concerned that a move toward independence would send the economy into a tailspin, the people said.

The Spanish government will approve a decree on Friday making it easier for companies to transfer their legal base out of Catalonia, two sources said, a move that could deal a serious blow to the region's finances as it considers independence.

Directly addressing the king, he added: "Not like this". "I am sure that Spain will not be able to ignore the will of so many people".

Catalan officials released preliminary referendum results showing 90 percent support in favour of breaking away.



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