LNG giant quits Barcelona as Catalan crisis continues

Posted October 10, 2017

Puigdemont will address the Catalan parliament at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Tuesday on "the current political situation" amid speculation he could ask the assembly to declare independence.

Separatist leaders in the wealthy region have threatened to declare independence from Spain - the fourth biggest economy in the eurozone - setting off a severe political crisis that has unsettled businesses and investors.

Article 155 of Spain's constitution says that if a region's government breaches its constitutional obligations or "acts in a way that seriously threatens the general interest of Spain", Madrid can "take necessary measures to oblige it forcibly to comply or to protect said general interest".

The rallies come a week after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and other separatist leaders of the Catalan government held a referendum on secession that the Spanish government branded illegal.

PLAID Cymru's Gwynedd Council leader has condemned the violence by the "oppressive" Spanish government police against the people of Catalonia. Videos of police pulling voters out by their hair and kicking them on stairs flashed around the world.

"There are millions of people who have voted, who want to decide".

The "Yes" side won the referendum by a landslide, winning 90 per cent of the vote, though less than half of the region's electorate cast their ballots.

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"When you try to deeply modify the state then there are some consequences even in the economic field and now we are seeing these consequences", he said. She had stressed her support for Spain's unity but called for more dialogue between the two governments.

"If independence were to be recognised - which is not something that's being discussed - the most immediate outcome would be that [Catalonia] automatically left the European Union".

Joanna Cherry, who along with Chapman and a number of others was in Barcelona for the referendum as part of a 35-nation cross-party delegation, also spoke in favour of the resolution, saying: "What I witnessed was a quiet and dignified determination to vote in the face of considerable interference".

Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the anti-independence Catalan opposition, had earlier tweeted that demonstrators should refrain from waving fascists flags "in front of the press", but later deleted the tweet.

Joaquin Penas, an off-duty soldier who marched in Madrid, said if Catalonia declared independence it would be "like cutting off an arm".

Since then, hundreds of thousands of residents have thronged onto the streets every September 11, a Catalan holiday, to demand independence. It contributes much more in taxes (21% of the country's total) than it gets back from the central government.

The show of support for Madrid helped calm Spanish markets on Monday, along with comments on Friday from credit rating agencies Moody's and DBRS that they expected Spain to remain united.