Protesters rally against Catalan independence in Barcelona

Marie Harrington
October 10, 2017

Several businesses, including major banks, have started moving their legal headquarters out of Catalonia, casting doubt on whether one of Spain's wealthiest regions would risk a major capital flight if it broke off from Madrid.

"Given the negative implications of independence for economic activity in Catalonia due to its likely exclusion from the European Union and euro area, we think the likelihood of independence is very low", a note from JP Morgan analysts read today.

Some protesters called for Puigdemont to go to jail for holding the independence vote.

Ramon Tremosa, an European Union lawmaker from PDeCAT, told Onda Vasca radio on Monday that Puigdemont could follow the example of Slovenia, which declared independence in 1991 following an unauthorized referendum, but waited months before enacting it.

France will not recognise Catalonia if the Spanish region unilaterally declares independence, its European Affairs Minister, Nathalie Loiseau, said on Monday.

Republican Catalan Left (Esquerra, ERC) MP Joan Tardà tweeted: "Yes, Pablo Casado, we know how our President Companys ended up, shot by the army".

Leaders in Catalonia are facing increasing domestic and worldwide pressure to abandon plans to declare independence from Spain, ahead of a planned speech by Catalonia's regional president.

Meanwhile, Nils Muizneks, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, revealed that he has requested Spain's Ministry of the Interior set up an independent enquiry into multiple claims of disproportionate use of excessive force by the Spanish police during the banned referendum on 1 October. It is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for about a fifth of Spain's economy.

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And Pablo Casado, a spokesman for the Popular Party, warned that if history repeats itself, then Puigdemont could "end up" like the region's former leader, Lluis Companys, media reports said.

The demonstrations were in response to last Sunday's disputed referendum on Catalan independence.

In Madrid, protesters wore stickers that read: "Catalonia, we love you".

According to the Catalan government, a majority of those who took part in the illegal referendum voted for the separation of the region from Spain. City police said 700,000 people joined a pro-independence protest in Barcelona two days after the vote.

"The turnout in Barcelona and across Spain to talk about Spain and unity and to express the voice of those who would not want this referendum to go ahead was also overwhelmingly powerful".

The Catalan authorities say more than 90 percent of those who voted backed secession, but opinion polls on the issue suggest the region is more closely divided.

"I think that whatever they do, they have made us angry, and I think we have seen that a. part of Spain doesn't like us - the king doesn't like us either and so I think that, also because of how they've treated us just now, there is no turning back".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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