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catalonia independence

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Spain’s Supreme Court has withdrawn European arrest warrants for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-ministers.

The former Catalan leaders fled to Belgium a month ago after declaring unilateral independence in a referendum ruled illegal by Spain.

Despite the move, the Supreme Court judge said they still faced possible charges for sedition and rebellion.

Rebellion is considered one of the most serious crimes in Spain, carrying a jail term of up to 30 years.

Judge Pablo Llareno announced the warrant’s withdrawal on December 5, citing the willingness the Catalan leaders had shown to return ahead of fresh regional elections being held on December 21.

The judge said the European-wide warrant would complicate the Spanish legal probe, and its removal allows Spain to gain full control over the investigation.

The ministers turned themselves into Belgian authorities after the warrant was issued last month, but were freed after being questioned.

Image source Wikimedia

Spain Issues European Arrest Warrants for Carles Puigdemont

Catalonia Independence: Madrid Calls on Carles Puigdemont to Participate in Elections

Catalonia Crisis: Spain’s High Court Summons Carles Puigdemont

A Belgian judge was previously expected to rule whether to extradite the ministers on December 14. The five were fighting the move, saying they may not receive a fair trial on their return.

Carles Puigdemont has previously said he would return if this was guaranteed.

On December 4, six Catalan ex-ministers being held in a prison near Madrid were released from prison on bail. However, two others, including former Catalan Vice President Orial Junqueras, were remanded in custody.

Campaigning has now officially started ahead of the new vote organized by Spanish authorities in an attempt to try and resolve the Catalonia crisis.

Carles Puigdemont labeled the election as a choice between “nation or submission” while speaking on a video link from Belgium to a rally in Barcelona on December 4.

He said voters must chose “between Catalan institutions or dark characters in Madrid”.

A seat reserved for the former leader at the event was marked with a yellow ribbon, an emblem that has become a symbol of support for the jailed politicians.

All but one of the thirteen Catalan leaders sacked by the Spanish government after the independence referendum are standing for election again in the fresh vote.

A new opinion poll, conducted by the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research (CIS) in late November, suggests that pro-independence parties will fall narrowly short of an absolute majority in the December election.

Carles Puidgemont and Orial Junqueras’ pro-separatist parties are campaigning separately in the new vote, after a divide emerged over the future of the region following the nulled referendum.

The parties ran together in the 2015 election when separatist parties won an overall majority in the Catalan parliament when they won 72 seats.

 

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Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will visit Catalonia for the first time since he imposed direct rule on the north-eastern region two weeks ago.

Mariano Rajoy has called regional elections for December and will address a campaign meeting of his center-right party.

On November 11, some 750,000 people protested in Barcelona against the detention of Catalan leaders.

Several Catalan officials were held after the regional government made a unilateral declaration of independence.

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Catalonia Independence: Thousands Protest Against Detention of Eight Ministers

Catalonia Independence: Madrid Calls on Carles Puigdemont to Participate in Elections

The Catalan crisis was sparked by a disputed referendum held in the region in October, which had been barred by the Spanish courts.

According to Catalan officials, the independence campaign won 92% of the vote, from a turnout of 43%. Many of those who were against independence did not cast votes, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the referendum.

Spain’s government responded to the referendum by dissolving the Catalan parliament, imposing direct rule, and calling a snap regional election on December 21.

Since the crackdown by Madrid, Catalonia’s sacked President Carles Puigdemont has gone into self-imposed exile in Belgium, and his top allies have been prosecuted.

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Spain has issued European Arrest Warrants (EAW) for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four of his allies who went to Belgium.

The five failed to attend a high court hearing in Madrid on November 2 when nine other ex-members of the regional government were taken into custody.

One of those detained has been freed on bail of €50,000 ($58,000).

They all face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for pursuing Catalan independence.

Carles Puigdemont has said he will not return to Spain unless he receives guarantees of a fair trial.

Belgium will “study” the warrant, a spokesman for the state prosecutor told AFP.

The regional parliament in Catalonia voted to proclaim an independent republic on October 27, following an illegal referendum on independence organized by the Catalan government on October 1.

No other country recognized the move and Spain’s central government moved swiftly to impose control, using emergency powers under the constitution.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Thousands Protest Against Detention of Eight Ministers

Catalonia Independence: Dismissed Leaders Appear in Court

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

Carles Puigdemont was the president of the autonomous region of Catalonia until the proclamation of independence and continues to regard himself as the president of the newly proclaimed “Republic of Catalonia”.

The ousted and his colleagues travelled to Belgium to raise their case for statehood at the EU institutions and he insists he is not trying to evade “real justice”.

During an interview with Belgian TV, aired on November 3, Carles Puigdemont that he would co-operate with Belgian judicial authorities.

He also said that he was ready to run in snap regional elections in Catalonia next month.

The other four warrants are for: ex-agriculture minister Meritxell Serret, ex-health minister Antoni Comín, ex-culture minister Lluís Puig and ex-education minister Clara Ponsatí.

The warrants were sent to Belgian prosecutors, who have 24 hours to decide whether the paperwork is correct.

If they do, they will forward them on to a judge who will decide whether Carles Puigdemont and the four others should be arrested.

Belgium has a maximum of 60 days to return the suspects to Spain after arrest. However, if the suspects do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen much sooner.

A country can reject an EU arrest warrant if it fears that extradition would violate the suspect’s human rights.

Discrimination based on politics, religion or race is grounds for refusal. So are fears that the suspect would not get a fair trial.

There is an agreed EU list of 32 offences – in Article Two of the EAW law – for which there is no requirement for the offence to be a crime in both countries. In other words, any of those offences can be a justification for extradition, provided the penalty is at least three years in jail.

However, neither “sedition” nor “rebellion” – two of the Spanish accusations against the Catalan leaders – are on that list.

Thousands of Catalans have taken the streets of Barcelona to protest against the detention of eight regional ministers sacked over Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain.

The eight officials – who appeared in Spain’s high court – are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Prosecutors are also seeking a European Arrest Warrant for ousted Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont, who did not show up in court and is now in Belgium.

The request also covers four other ex-ministers who ignored the summons.

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since a referendum on independence from Spain was held in Catalonia on October 1 in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.

Last week, Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling local elections for December 21.

This came after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare the independence of the affluent north-eastern region.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favor of independence.

Image source AFP

Catalonia Independence: Dismissed Leaders Appear in Court

Catalonia Crisis: Spain’s High Court Summons Carles Puigdemont

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

On November 2, thousands of people gathered outside Catalonia’s regional parliament in Barcelona.

Many carried Catalan flags and slogans that read “Freedom for political prisoners”.

Similar protest rallies were held in other Catalan towns.

Political parties and civic groups in the affluent north-eastern region also condemned the judicial move.

Nine out of 14 summoned Catalan ex-ministers appeared before Judge Carmen Lamela.

The judge said they had to be detained because they might otherwise leave the country or destroy evidence.

Those who were held are: ex-Deputy Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, ex-Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, ex-Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva, ex-Justice Minister Carles Mundó, ex-Labour Minister Dolors Bassa, ex-Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull, ex-Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull and ex-Culture Minister Meritxell Borras.

The ninth official, ex-Business Minister Santi Vila, was granted bail at the request of prosecutors. He quit before the Catalan parliament voted for independence on October 27.

In addition to Carles Puigdemont, prosecutors have asked Spain’s high court judge to issue European arrest warrants for the following Catalan officials: ex-Agriculture Minister Meritxell Serret, Ex-Health Minister Antoni Comín, ex-Culture Minister Lluís Puig, Ex-Education Minister Clara Ponsatí.

Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court.

Their hearings have been postponed until November 9.

In a statement broadcast on Catalan TV from an undisclosed location in Belgium, Carles Puigdemont described the detentions as “an act that breaks with the basic principles of democracy”.

“I demand the release of the ministers and the vice-president,” he added.

Carles Puigdemont, who was spotted in a Brussels cafe on November 2, has said he will not return to Spain unless he receives guarantees of a fair trial. He did not specify his exact demands.

According to Efe news agency, Belgium’s federal prosecutor has said the law will be applied once an arrest warrant is received.

Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer said the climate was “not good” for him to appear in court, but he also said his client would co-operate with the authorities in Spain and Belgium.

Eight dismissed members of Catalonia’s regional government are facing jail over their role in October’s disputed independence referendum, Madrid prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, nine Catalan officials testified at Spain’s high court over accusations of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Ousted Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont and four others disregarded a summons.

Carles Puigdemont, who is in Belgium, said the trial was “political”.

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since the referendum was held on October 1 in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.

Last week, Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling snap local elections for December 21.

This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence of the north-eastern region.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favor of independence.

Prosecutors asked the high court judge to jail eight of the nine members who turned up for questioning.

Those included dismissed deputy leader Oriol Junqueras, Interior Minister Joaquin Forn, foreign affairs chief Raül Romeva and spokesman Jordi Turull.

The ninth, Catalonia’s former business minister Santi Vila, should be granted a €50,000 ($58,000) bail, prosecutors said. He resigned before the Catalan parliament voted for independence on October 27.

The Catalan leaders are yet to be formally charged. They were accused of rebellion – which carries a maximum 30-year jail term – as well as sedition and misuse of funds.

A judge will decide whether the officials should go to jail, pending an investigation that could potentially lead to a trial.

The judge can also grant them conditional bail and order them to surrender their passports.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Crisis: Spain’s High Court Summons Carles Puigdemont

Catalonia Independence: Madrid Calls on Carles Puigdemont to Participate in Elections

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

Five dismissed Catalan officials stayed in Brussels, including Carles Puigdemont, who had previously said he would not return to Spain if he and his colleagues did not receive unspecified guarantees of a fair trial.

Reports suggest some of them requested to appear before the judges via video conference.

Carles Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer told Reuters that he would co-operate with the authorities in Spain and Belgium, but did not appear before the judges because “the climate is not good”.

The dismissed leader’s handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet criticizing him for creating “yet more bewilderment”.

Meanwhile, five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court.

Their hearings have been postponed until November 9.

If those Catalan politicians appearing in court are denied bail it will cause further anger among those who want Catalonia to break away.

The court summons also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2 million ($7.2 million) to cover potential liabilities.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont and 13 other members of his dismissed government have been summoned to appear in Spain’s high court later this week.

The court also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2 million to cover potential liabilities.

The summons comes after Spain’s chief prosecutor said he would press charges including rebellion.

Carles Puigdemont is in Belgium with several former ministers. He earlier said he was not there to seek asylum.

Catalonia’s dismissed president triggered a crisis in Spain by holding an independence referendum on October 1 in the semi-autonomous region despite Madrid’s opposition and the Constitutional Court declaring the vote illegal.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Madrid Calls on Carles Puigdemont to Participate in Elections

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

Carles Puigdemont turned up in Brussels on October 30 as Spanish Attorney-General José Manuel Maza called for Catalan leaders to face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The Audiencia National has now summoned the dismissed Catalan officials – who are yet to be formally charged – to testify on November 2 and 3. If they do not appear, prosecutors could order their arrest.

Meanwhile, the speaker of Catalan’s dissolved parliament Carme Forcadell and other former lawmakers have been summoned to the Supreme Court because they still have parliamentary immunity.

Carles Puigdemont earlier said he would return to Spain if guaranteed a fair hearing.

Several of Carles Puigdemont’s former colleagues who remain inside the country may decide to accept the summons and appear in court.

Prosecutors’ arguments against the group were “serious, rational and logical”, Judge Carmen Lamela said in a ruling, according to the AFP.

The charge of rebellion carries a maximum 30-year jail term.

Speaking at a press conference earlier on October 31, Carles Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape justice by travelling to Belgium but wanted to be able to speak freely.

Carles Puigdemont’s comments came as Spain’s constitutional court suspended the declaration of independence made by the Catalan parliament on October 27.

The former leader also said he would accept the result of snap elections in Catalonia on December 21, which were called by Spain’s central government after it invoked Article 155 of the constitution, temporarily suspending the region’s autonomy.

He told reporters: “I want a clear commitment from the state. Will the state respect the results that could give separatist forces a majority?”

Spain’s central government has previously said Carles Puigdemont is welcome to take part in the fresh polls.

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Spain’s central government has said it would welcome the participation of sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in new elections.

Madrid has ordered that fresh elections for the regional parliament of Catalonia should take place in December.

The central government suspended Catalonia’s autonomy after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence.

Carles Puigdemont is urging “democratic opposition” to direct rule from Madrid.

He condemned the suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy and promised to continue to “work to build a free country”.

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since an independence referendum, organized by Carles Puigdemont’s separatist government, was held on October 1 in defiance of a ruling by the Constitutional Court which had declared it illegal.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence.

Image source Wikimedia

Spain Suspends Catalonia’s Autonomy and Takes Charge of Its Government

Catalonia Declares Independence from Spain

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

On October 27, Catalonia’s parliament declared independence, with the central government responding by declaring the move illegal.

Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy then announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and the removal of Carles Puigdemont as Catalan leader, and ordered that fresh regional elections should be held.

A large anti-independence demonstration is expected to take place on October 29 in Barcelona, Catalonia’s regional capital.

The political crisis will also be played out on the soccer pitch in the afternoon when Real Madrid, the defending Spanish champions, travel to Catalonia to play Girona, the team supported by Carles Puigdemont.

A central government spokesman in Madrid, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, said Carles Puigdemont had the right to continue in politics, despite his removal from office.

“I’m quite sure that if Puigdemont takes part in these elections, he can exercise this democratic opposition,” Íñigo Méndez de Vigo said, quoted by Reuters.

“The Catalans will be able to say what they feel about what they’ve been seeing in this last year, with all sorts of failing the law, abusing the law and putting themselves outside the law,” the official added.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo spoke after Carles Puigdemont, in a pre-recorded address to Catalans on October 28, said the central government’s actions were “premeditated aggression” that ran “contrary to the expressed will of the citizens of our country, who know perfectly well that in a democracy it is parliaments that choose, or remove, presidents”.

He added: “We continue persevering in the only attitude that can make us winners. Without violence, without insults, in an inclusive way, respecting people and symbols, opinions, and also respecting the protests of the Catalans who do not agree with what the parliamentary majority has decided.”

A poll published by El Pais on October 28 suggests more Catalans (52% to 43%) are in favor of the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of elections.

Fifty-five per cent of Catalan respondents opposed the declaration of independence, with 41% in favor.

Spain’s government has stripped Catalonia of its autonomy and taken charge of its government.

The decision came into effect on October 28 after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence on October 27.

An official state bulletin dismissed Catalan leaders and handed the region’s control to Spain’s Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Earlier, Spain’s interior ministry took charge of Catalonia’s police after firing senior Catalan police officials.

On October 27, PM Mariano Rajoy announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and the removal of Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont and called snap local elections.

Demonstrations for and against independence went on into the night.

More are expected today, with a rally “for the unity of Spain and the constitution” to be held in Madrid.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Declares Independence from Spain

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy Unveils Plans to Remove Separatist Leaders

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

The crisis began on October 1, when Catalan leaders held an independence referendum, defying a ruling by the Constitutional Court which had declared it illegal.

According to the Catalan government, of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence. Others boycotted the vote after the court ruling.

On October 27, the Catalan regional parliament voted to declare independence from Spain.

Soon after, the Spanish Senate granted Mariano Rajoy’s government the power to impose direct rule on Catalonia.

It did so on October 28 by publishing an official bulletin that dismissed Carles Puigdemont and all government members.

The announcement came hours after Spain’s government removed Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez as chief of Catalonia’s autonomous Mossos police force.

Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez was already under investigation for sedition, accused of failing to help Spain’s Guardia Civil police tackle thousands of pro-independence protesters in Barcelona during the run-up to the referendum.

Pere Soler i Campins, the Mossos director general, has also been dismissed.

Regional elections are scheduled for December 21.

Carles Puigdemont has urged supporters to “maintain the momentum” in a peaceful manner, but Spanish prosecutors say they will file charges of “rebellion” against him next week.

Separatists say the independence move means they no longer fall under Spanish jurisdiction.

However, Spain’s Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the EU, the US, the UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity.

Catalonia’s regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region.

Catalan lawmakers easily approved the move amid an opposition boycott.

PM Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return “law, democracy and stability” to Catalonia.

The crisis began on October 1, when Catalonia held a controversial referendum on independence.

The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence. However, Spain’s Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy Unveils Plans to Remove Separatist Leaders

Catalonia Independence: Spain Prepared to Suspend Catalan Autonomy

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

A motion declaring independence was approved on Friday with 70 in favor, 10 against, and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber.

The measure calls for the transfer of legal powers from Spain to an independent Catalonia.

However, the Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the US, UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “doesn’t need any more cracks, more splits”.

Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont has called for supporters to “maintain the momentum” in a peaceful manner.

Crowds have been celebrating the declaration of independence and Spanish flags have been removed from some regional government buildings in Catalonia.

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Spain is prepared to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy on October 21, as its leader, Carles Puigdemont, threatened to declare independence.

The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.

Carles Puigdemont said earlier the Catalan parliament would vote on independence, backed in a disputed referendum on October 1, if Spain “continues repression”.

Some fear the moves could spark unrest.

The government statement said: “The Spanish government will continue with the procedures outlined in Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in Catalonia’s self-government.

“It denounces the attitude maintained by those in charge of the Generalitat [Catalan government] to seek, deliberately and systematically, institutional confrontation despite the serious damage that is being caused to the coexistence and the economic structure of Catalonia.

“No-one doubts that the Spanish government will do all it can to restore the constitutional order.”

Image source Wikipedia

Catalonia Independence: Separatist Leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart Detained

Catalonia Signs Declaration of Independence from Spain, But Proposes to Suspend Vote Result

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s Constitutional Court Suspends Catalan Parliament’s Session

Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, which cemented democratic rule after the death of General Franco three years earlier, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked.

Political leaders in Madrid and Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, have been engaged in a tense stand-off since the disputed referendum, which Catalan leaders say resulted in a “Yes” vote for independence but which Spain’s supreme court regards as illegal.

Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy set the deadline of 10:00 local time for Carles Puigdemont to offer a definitive answer on the independence question, and called on him to “act sensibly”.

The prime minister said in parliament on October 18: “It’s not that difficult to reply to the question: has Catalonia declared independence? Because if it has, the government is obliged to act in one way, and if it has not, we can talk here.”

This was the second and final deadline, as Madrid says Carles Puigdemont on October 16 failed to clarify whether he had declared independence.

PM Mariano Rajoy is due to attend an EU summit in Brussels on October 19.

On October 21, the government will be expected to draw up a list of specific measures under Article 155 of the constitution, launching the transfer of powers from Catalonia to Madrid.

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Two key members of the Catalan independence movement, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, have been held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.

They were leading figures in the October 1 independence vote, which the Madrid government regards as illegal.

Their detention led to protests overnight, with more expected across Catalonia on October 17.

Jordi Sánchez, who heads the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a pro-independence organization, and Jordi Cuixart, leader of Omnium Cultural, appeared before the High Court in Madrid on October 16.

The two men are being investigated over a protest on September 20 in which a crowd blocked Civil Guard officers inside a building in Barcelona, Catalonia’s regional capital.

Image source Wikipedia

Catalonia Signs Declaration of Independence from Spain, But Proposes to Suspend Vote Result

Catalonia Independence: Mossos d’Esquadra Major Josep Lluis Trapero In Madrid Court on Suspicion of Sedition

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Following the October 1 referendum, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence, but halted its implementation to allow negotiations.

Carles Puigdemont has called for talks to take place over the next two months.

However, the Spanish government has warned that Catalonia must revoke the declaration or face direct rule from Madrid.

Carles Puigdemont has also angered Madrid by refusing to clarify whether or not he declared independence last week.

The Catalan president, who has been given until October 19 to clarify his position, hit out at the government on Twitter following news of Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart’s detention.

“Spain jails Catalonia’s civil society leaders for organizing peaceful demonstrations. Sadly, we have political prisoners again,” he wrote.

In a video recorded before his court appearance and released on his Twitter account after his detention, Jordi Cuixart instructs separatists to “never lose hope because the people of Catalonia have earned their future”.

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Catalan leaders, including President Carles Puigdemont, have signed a declaration of independence from Spain, following the October 1 disputed referendum.

However, the Catalan leaders say the move will not be implemented immediately to allow talks with the Spanish central government.

It is unclear whether the document – calling for Catalonia to be recognized as an “independent and sovereign state” – has any legal status.

The move was immediately dismissed by the Spain’s government.

Catalonia independence referendum – which Catalan leaders say resulted in a Yes vote for independence – was declared invalid by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Earlier in the day, Carles Puigdemont told the Catalan parliament in Barcelona that the region had won the right to be independent as a result of the referendum.

According to Catalan officials, the referendum resulted in almost 90% of voters backing independence. However, anti-independence voters largely boycotted the ballot – which had a reported turnout of 43% – and there were several reports of irregularities.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s Constitutional Court Suspends Catalan Parliament’s Session

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Catalonia Independence: Mossos d’Esquadra Major Josep Lluis Trapero In Madrid Court on Suspicion of Sedition

National police were involved in violent scenes as they manhandled voters while implementing the legal ruling banning the referendum.

The declaration reads: “We call on all states and international organizations to recognize the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state.”

Carles Puigdemont told the regional parliament that the “people’s will” was to break away from Madrid, but he also said he wanted to “de-escalate” the tension around the issue.

“We are all part of the same community and we need to go forward together. The only way forward is democracy and peace,” the Catalan president told deputies.

He also said Catalonia was being denied the right to self-determination, and paying too much in taxes to the central government in Madrid.

Spain’s Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria responded to the declaration by saying: “Neither Mr. Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim… to impose mediation.

“Any dialogue between democrats has to take place within the law.”

Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy has called an extraordinary cabinet meeting for October 11 to address the latest moves in the crisis.

Independence supporters had been sharing the Catalan hashtag #10ODeclaració (10 October Declaration) on Twitter, amid expectations that Carles Puigdemont would ask parliament to declare independence on the basis of the referendum law it passed last month.

However, influential figures including Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and European Council President Donald Tusk had urged Carles Puigdemont to step back from declaring independence.

Catalonia, a region of Spain for centuries but with its own distinct language and culture, enjoys broad autonomy under the Spanish constitution.

However, a 2005 amendment redefining the region as a “nation”, boosting the status of the Catalan language and increasing local control over taxes and the judiciary, was reversed by the Constitutional Court in 2010.

The economic crisis further fuelled discontent and pro-independence parties took power in the region in the 2015 elections.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, accounting for a quarter of the country’s exports. However, a stream of companies have announced plans to move their head offices out of Catalonia in response to the crisis.

The EU has made clear that should Catalonia split from Spain, the region would cease to be part of the European Union.

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Catalonia’s chief of police Josep Lluis Trapero is appearing before a judge in Madrid on suspicion of sedition against the state.

His Mossos d’Esquadra force is accused of failing to protect Spanish national police from protesters ahead of the October 1 independence referendum.

Another Catalan police officer and two leading independence activists are also being questioned as suspects.

Catalonia’s independence vote was declared illegal under Spanish law.

The hearing is taking place at the national criminal court in Madrid. The defendants are accused of failing to help Guardia Civil police tackle thousands of pro-independence protesters outside the Catalan Economy Department in Barcelona on September 20.

According to El Pais, the accusation against the Mossos is extraordinary in post-Franco democratic Spain.

The crime of sedition has been in every Spanish penal code since 1822 and carries a potential prison term of up to 15 years. It amounts to rebellion against state decisions or national security forces.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Spain’s Constitutional Court Suspends Catalan Parliament’s Session

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

As recently as August the Mossos was being widely praised for quickly tackling the Islamist cell that carried out the Barcelona terror attack in that month.

Following October 1 vote the Catalan regional government says it might unilaterally declare independence within days.

Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy will chair a cabinet meeting to discuss the next moves in the confrontation with Catalonia.

Referendum organizers put the turnout at 42%, with 2.2 million people taking part. They say 90% voted for independence, but have not published final results. There have been several claims of irregularities.

There was violence at polling stations as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters.

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Spain’s Constitutional Court has decided to suspend October 9 session of Catalan parliament, in a bid to pre-empt a possible push for independence.

According to the court, such a move would be “a breach of the constitution”.

Earlier PM Mariano Rajoy warned Catalonia’s regional government against declaring independence after a disputed vote on October 1.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont had indicated that he could make such a declaration at next week’s session.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: King Felipe VI of Spain Says Referendum Organizers Put Themselves Outside the Law

Catalonia Independence Referendum: Carles Puigdemont Says Spanish Region Won Right to Statehood

Catalonia Independence Referendum Begins Amid Police Crackdown

The court’s ruling on October 5 upheld a challenge by Catalonia’s Socialist Party, which opposes secession from Spain, and not from the government in Madrid.

Allowing the regional parliament to meet and declare independence, the court said, would violate the rights of the party’s lawmakers.

An earlier ruling by the court aimed at stopping October 1 vote was ignored by Catalonia’s leaders. That challenge to the court had come from Spain’s government, which condemned the referendum as illegal.

Organizers of October 1 vote put the turnout at 42%, with 2.2 million people taking part. They say 90% voted for independence, however they have not published final results. There have been several claims of irregularities.

There was violence at polling stations as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court decision to ban the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters.

President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont says the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence.

Carles Puigdemont, 54, said the door had been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence.

According to Catalan officials, 90% of those who voted backed independence on October 1. The turnout was 42.3%.

Spain’s constitutional court had banned the vote and hundreds of people were injured as police used force to try to block voting.

Officers seized ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy said Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote.

According to Catalan authorities, more than 2.2 million people were reported to have voted, out of 5.3 million registered voters. A Catalan spokesman said more than 750,000 votes could not be counted because polling stations were closed and urns were confiscated.

In a TV address, Carles Puigdemont said: “With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic.

“My government in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.”

He said the EU could no longer “continue to look the other way”.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence Referendum Begins Amid Police Crackdown

Catalonia Independence: Thousands Gather for Artur Mas’ Trial

Catalonia Independence: Spanish Government Challenges Secession Bid

Meanwhile, PM Mariano Rajoy spoke of a “mockery” of democracy.

“At this hour I can tell you in the strongest terms what you already know and what we have seen throughout this day. There has not been a referendum on self-determination in Catalonia,” he said.

Large crowds of independence supporters gathered in the centre of the regional capital Barcelona on Sunday evening, waving flags and singing the Catalan anthem. Anti-independence protesters have also held rallies in Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

In another development, more than 40 trade unions and Catalan associations called a region-wide strike on October 3 due to “the grave violation of rights and freedoms”.

TV footage showed Spanish police kicking would-be voters and pulling women out of polling stations by their hair.

Catalan medical officials said 844 people had been hurt in clashes, including 33 police. The majority had minor injuries or had suffered from anxiety attacks.

In Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station where Carles Puigdemont was due to vote, and forcibly removed those inside. He voted at another station.

TV footage showed riot police using batons to beat a group of firefighters who were protecting crowds in Girona.

The national police and Guardia Civil – a military force charged with police duties – were sent into Catalonia in large numbers to prevent the vote.

The Catalan police – the Mossos d’Esquadra – have been placed under Madrid’s control, however witnesses said they showed little inclination to use force on protesters.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau condemned police actions against the region’s “defenseless” population, but Spain’s Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police had “acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way”.

Catalan authorities said 319 of about 2,300 polling stations across the region had been closed by police while the Spanish government said 92 stations had been sealed off.

Since September 29, thousands of people have occupied schools and other buildings designated as polling stations in order to keep them open.

Many of those inside were parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on September 29 and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.

The anti-independence Societat Civil said there were voting irregularities, including the same people voting twice.

Catalonia is a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain and has its own language and culture.

However, Catalonia has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognized as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.

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Catalonia’s independence referendum has begun despite Spanish police’s attempt to prevent the vote from taking place.

The Spanish government has pledged to stop a vote that was declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

The interior ministry says police officers began seizing ballot papers and boxes as the polls opened.

Riot police blocked potential voters from entering a polling station in the regional capital Barcelona.

Thousands of separatist supporters occupied schools and other buildings that have been designated as voting centers ahead of the polls opening.

Many of those inside are parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on September 29 and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.

In some areas, farmers positioned tractors on roads and in front of polling station doors, and school gates were taken away to make it harder for the authorities to seal buildings off.

Police insisted polling stations would not be allowed to open, and that those inside would be evicted.

On October 1, dozens of national police vehicles left their base in the port of Barcelona as officers were deployed.

Referendum organizers have called for peaceful resistance to any police action.

Catalan government officials have predicted a big turnout.

The ballot papers contain just one question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” There are two boxes: Yes or No.

Image source Wikimedia

Catalonia Independence: Thousands Gather for Artur Mas’ Trial

Catalonia Independence: Artur Mas Steps Down as Regional President

Catalonia Independence: Spanish Government Challenges Secession Bid

Ahead of the polls opening, the Catalan government said voters could use any polling station if their designated voting place was shut.

The referendum has been declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court, and thousands of extra police officers have been sent to the region.

The Spanish government has put policing in Catalonia under central control and ordered the regional force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, to help enforce the ban.

In a show of force ahead of the poll, Spanish authorities have seized voting materials, imposed fines on top Catalan officials and temporarily detained dozens of politicians.

Police have also occupied the regional government’s telecommunications center.

The head of the Catalan police has urged officers to avoid using force.

Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture.

It also has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognized as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.

Pressure for a vote on self-determination has grown over the past five years.

However, Spanish unionists argue Catalonia already enjoys broad autonomy within Spain, along with other regions like the Basque Country and Galicia.

PM Mariano Rajoy says the vote goes against the constitution, which refers to “the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards”.

Central government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo accused the Catalan government of being inflexible and one-sided, but it is a charge that Catalan nationalists throw back at Madrid itself.

Demonstrations by independence campaigners have been largely peaceful.

On the eve of the vote, thousands of demonstrators calling for Spanish unity held rallies in cities across the country, including in the Catalan capital Barcelona.

They waved Spanish flags and carried banners reading “Catalonia is Spain”.

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Thousands of supporters filled the streets outside a court in Barcelona on February 6 as the former Catalan president, Artur Mas, went on trial.

Artur Mas is accused of serious civil disobedience over Catalonia’s unofficial vote in November 2014 seeking independence from Spain.

The vote went ahead in defiance of an order from Spain’s constitutional court.

Prosecutors are calling for him to be disqualified from office for 10 years.

Artur Mas, his deputy Joana Ortega, and Catalan former education minister Irene Rigau face accusations ranging from disobedience and perverting the course of justice to misuse of public funds.

Large crowds appeared outside the court in Barcelona on February 6 chanting “you are not alone”, “democracy is not a crime” and “independence”.

The case is being used by pro-independence supporters to galvanize their campaign. The current government has promised to hold a new vote in September.

The November 9, 2014 vote, which was not binding, went ahead despite vehement opposition from the national government and it was outlawed by Spain’s constitutional court.

Catalan officials say more than 80% of those who voted backed independence. However, only two million voters out of an estimated 5.4 million who were eligible took part.

On February 5, Artur Mas told a news conference in Barcelona that the Catalan government was “determined to go forward”.

He said: “We did what had to be done in 2014 and we would do it again if the circumstances allow it.”

Current Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said the countdown had begun for an independent Spanish state in Catalonia.

Like other regions in Spain, Catalonia already has the power to run its educational and healthcare systems, as well as limited freedoms in the area of taxation.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest and most highly industrialized regions, and also one of the most independent-minded.

With a distinct history stretching back to the early Middle Ages, many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain.

Catalonia’s assembly is due to choose a new regional president after Artur Mas stepped down and pro-independence parties reached an agreement to form a coalition.

The anti-capitalist CUP party and the Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) alliance are expected to elect Carles Puigdemont as regional president.

The two sides had disagreed over whether Artur Mas could continue as Catalan president following elections.

Artur Mas has stepped aside in favor of Carles Puigdemont to avoid new elections.

Disagreements between secessionist parties, which gained a majority in September’s regional polls, have blocked the formation of a new Catalan government.Carles Puigdemont Catalonia

Artur Mas has been in power since 2010 and heads Junts pel Si, which won 62 of the 135 seats. However, the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy), which holds 10 seats, has refused to support him.

Carles Puigdemont is the mayor of the town of Girona.

Nationally, Spain faces weeks of political uncertainty after an inconclusive general election on December 20.

In November, the Catalan parliament voted to start the secession process – a move declared unconstitutional by Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP), which ran the country before last month’s election.

Catalonia is a highly industrialized and populous region in Spain’s north-east that accounts for about a fifth of the country’s economic output.

Both the PP and the Socialists (PSOE), who came first and second respectively in Spain’s general election, oppose Catalan secession.

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President of the Generalitat of Catalonia Artur Mas has announced he will quit as the pro-independence head of the Spanish region, to avoid triggering new elections.

Disagreements between secessionist parties, which gained a majority in last year’s regional polls, have blocked the formation of a Catalan government.

Catalonia’s acting leader said he supported the mayor of the Girona region, Carles Puigdemont, as his replacement.

Artur Mas i Gavarró has been in power since 2010.

In September elections, Artur Mas’ Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) alliance won 62 of the 135 seats in the Catalan assembly.

However, a small anti-capitalist and pro-independence party, the CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy), which holds 10 seats, has refused to support Artur Mas as leader.

“I am stepping aside and will not be standing as a Junts pel Si candidate for the re-election of president of the regional government,” Artur Mas told a news conference in Barcelona.Artur Mas resignation

Nationally, Spain faces weeks of political uncertainty after an inconclusive general election on 20 December.

In November 2015, the Catalan parliament voted to start the secession process – a move declared unconstitutional by Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP), which ran the country before last month’s election.

Catalonia is a highly industrialized and populous region in Spain’s north-east that accounts for about a fifth of the country’s economic output.

Both the PP and the Socialists (PSOE), who came first and second respectively in Spain’s general election, oppose Catalan secession.

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Spain’s government is to challenge in the Constitutional Court a motion passed in the Catalan parliament backing the region’s independence.

PM Mariano Rajoy said he would not allow the secessionists to achieve their aim.

“They want an end to democracy,” he said.

Mariano Rajoy said Catalan vote on November 9 was a “clear violation” of the constitution.

The motion called on the regional parliament to aim for independence within 18 months.

It gives the assembly 30 days to start legislation on a Catalan constitution, treasury and social security system.

Catalan nationalist parties secured a majority of seats in September elections but fell short of winning half the vote. They had said before the vote that they considered it a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

Photo Yahoo News

Photo Yahoo News

Spain’s state prosecutor had called on the Constitutional Court on November 11 to suspend the Catalan resolution immediately, the prime minister said after an emergency cabinet meeting.

Opinion polls suggest a majority of Catalans favor a referendum on independence, but are evenly divided over whether to secede.

The Constitutional Court, which was due to hear the government’s appeal on November 11, is expected to rule against the Catalan motion.

However, the pro-secession parties had fully expected the motion to be declared illegal and as part of the motion argued that the court lacked legitimacy.

Two big separatist parties make up the “Together for Yes” (“Junts pel Si”) coalition but they needed the help of the far-left CUP (Popular Unity) party to secure an absolute majority in the Catalan parliament.

Catalonia’s acting president Artur Mas, who has spearheaded the drive for secession, has been trying to win re-election but has failed to secure the approval of the far-left party.

The CUP has called for another Together for Yes candidate, Raul Romeva, to take over the leadership role.

Several parties oppose secession in Catalonia, including the Catalan Socialists and Citizens (Ciudadanos), a center-right party which was born in the wealthy north-eastern region but has attracted increasing popularity across Spain.

Its leader, Albert Rivera, said earlier this week: “To those Catalans who want independence: the solution is not to break up the country, it is to reform it.”

Catalonia’s pro-independence parties have won an absolute majority in Spain’s regional elections, early results show.

With more than 90% of the votes counted, the main separatist alliance and a smaller party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament.

They said earlier a majority would allow them to declare independence from Spain unilaterally within 18 months.

Spain’s central government has pledged to block such moves in court.

With nearly 94% of the votes counted, the “Junts per Si” (“Together for Yes”) won 62 seats, while the far-left separatist CUP party is expected to secure 10 mandates.

“We have won,” Catalan regional President Artus Mas told his cheering supporters late on Sunday.Catalonia separatists win regional elections 2015

The pro-independence parties said ahead of the vote that they considered it a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

They argue that the Spanish government has consistently refused to allow a legally recognized referendum to take place, ignoring an unofficial vote backing independence in November 2014.

Opinion polls suggest a majority of Catalans favor a referendum on independence but are evenly divided over whether they want to secede.

Polling stations in the wealthy north-eastern province opened at 09:00 local time and closed at 20:00.

More than five million people were eligible to vote.

Arturo Mas’ ruling Convergencia party and the Esquerra Republicana party put up a single list of candidates – under the “Together for Yes” banner.

The anti-independence vote in Catalonia was split between a number of groups, including Spain PM Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party.

The centre-right government in Madrid has described any breakaway plans as “a nonsense”.

Mariano Rajoy argues that because the loss of Catalonia would affect all of Spain, the democratic approach would be for all of the country to vote in a referendum on Catalonia’s future.

Catalonia is voting in regional elections that nationalist parties hope will set them on the road to independence from Spain.

Two separatist parties have joined forces, and are aiming to secure a majority of seats in parliament – 68 out of 135.

They say this would allow them to unilaterally declare independence within 18 months.

Spain’s central government in Madrid has pledged to block in court such moves.

Polls suggest a majority of Catalans favor a referendum on independence but are evenly divided over whether they want to secede.

Polling stations in the wealthy north-eastern province have opened open at 09:00 local and will close at 20:00.

More than five million people are eligible to cast their votes.Catalonia elections 2015

Artur Mas’ ruling Convergencia party and Esquerra Republicana have created a single list of candidates – under the banner “Junts pel Si” (Together for Yes).

They say that September 27 vote is a de facto referendum on independence from Spain.

They argue that the Spanish government has consistently refused to allow a legally recognized referendum, ignoring an unofficial vote backing independence in November 2014.

The anti-independence vote in Catalonia is split between a number of groups, including Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party.

The centre-right government in Madrid has described any breakaway plans as “a nonsense”.

Mariano Rajoy argues that because the loss of Catalonia would affect all of Spain, the democratic approach would be for all of the country to vote in a referendum on Catalonia’s future.

At the same time, if “Together for Yes” fails to gain a majority it would be tantamount to a serious defeat for the pro-independence movement.

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More than 80% of voters backed the independence of Catalonia during an informal poll, officials say.

The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out holding a formal referendum in the autonomous north-eastern region.

More than two million people out of an estimated 5.4 million eligible voters took part in the ballot.

Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum.

“We have earned the right to a referendum,” he told cheering supporters.

“Once again Catalonia has shown that it wants to rule itself.”

He added: “I ask the people in the world, I ask the media and I also ask the democratic governments in the world to help the Catalan people decide its political future.”

More than 80 percent of voters backed the independence of Catalonia during an informal poll

More than 80 percent of voters backed the independence of Catalonia during an informal poll

The ballot was held in the face of fierce opposition from the Spanish government.

Speaking beforehand, Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the exercise as “fruitless and useless”.

“The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.

Voters were asked two questions – whether they wanted Catalonia to be a state and whether they wanted that state to be independent.

Vice President Joana Ortega said that more than two million people had taken part in the “consultation of citizens” and that with almost all votes counted, 80.72% had answered “Yes” to both questions.

Just over 10% voted yes for the first question and no for the second, he said, and about 4.5% voted no to both questions.

Opinion polls suggest that as many as 80% of Catalans want an official referendum on the issue of Catalonia’s status, with about 50% in favor of full independence.

Spanish unionist parties argue that because the ballot was organized by grassroots pro-independence groups it cannot legitimately reflect the wishes of the region.

More than 40,000 volunteers helped to set up and run the informal exercise.

The Catalan National Assembly pressure group collected signatures at polling stations on a petition to be sent to the UN and the European Commission asking for help to convince Spain to allow an official referendum.

Nationalism in Catalonia has been fuelled by economic and cultural grievances. The wealthy region of 7.5 million people contributes more to the Spanish economy than it gets back through central government funds.

The Libres e Iguales (Free and Equal) group, which opposes the vote, held protests in dozens of cities.

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Catalonia is holding an informal poll on independence.

The Spanish judiciary has ruled the vote unconstitutional but Catalan leader Artur Mas warned against any attempt to disrupt it.

Spain’s constitutional court suspended earlier plans for a referendum on secession.

PM Mariano Rajoy said the vote would have no effect and urged the region to return to “sanity”.

Voters will be asked whether they want a Catalan state and whether that state should be independent.

Catalonia is a wealthy a region of 7.5 million people and contributes more to the Spanish economy than it gets back through central government funds. Economic and cultural grievances have fuelled Catalan nationalism.

He says there is a long history of support for winning independence from Spain, or at least much greater autonomy within it.

This week, the Constitutional Court demanded the vote be suspended.

Catalonia is holding an informal poll on independence

Catalonia is holding an informal poll on independence

Catalonia’s government insisted it went ahead, organized by volunteers and with no official electoral roll.

Artur Mas warned the Spanish government against any attempt to halt the vote.

He said: “I don’t know what they will do, it does not depend on us, but if they have a minimum of common sense I think any action out of the ordinary would be a direct attack on democracy and a direct attack on fundamental rights.”

Mariano Rajoy urged a return to sanity and for talks “within the legal framework of the constitution”.

He said the vote would be “neither a referendum nor a consultation nor anything of the sort”.

He added: “What is certain is that it will not have any effect.”

The Libres e Iguales (Free and Equal) group, which opposes the vote, held protests in dozens of cities.

One protest in Barcelona witnessed minor scuffles but no arrests.

Rallies in favor of the vote have also been held.

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Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with a contested independence referendum, Spanish media says.

A spokesman for Catalan President Artur Mas said he would be holding a news conference at 08:00 GMT on October 14.

Spain’s government said the November 9 vote was unconstitutional but Catalan’s leaders had vowed to hold it.

Support for independence has increased among the 7.5 million Catalans following Spain’s economic crisis.

On September 19, the regional parliament voted by 106 to 28 in favor of granting Catalan’s president the power to hold a referendum.

Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with the independence referendum

Catalonia’s government has called off plans to push ahead with the independence referendum

Spain’s central government protested against the move and the Constitutional Court agreed to hear their case against the referendum – a process that could take years.

The pro-independence Catalan government had previously said it was examining legal arguments to persuade the court to lift its suspension of the vote while the case is heard.

However, Joan Herrera, of the Initiative for Catalonia party, told reporters that the regional government had “determined that the consultation can’t take place” after meeting with pro-referendum parties on Monday.

Spanish media said that President Artur Mas was now looking for other mechanisms to consult the public.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have protested on the streets in recent weeks, demanding their own vote.

Polls suggest most Catalans favor holding the vote, but are roughly evenly split on independence.

With about 16% of the Spanish population and a distinct language and culture, Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest and most independent-minded regions.

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