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Protests erupt in Spain over Catalonia's move for independence

08 October 2017

If the Catalan authorities move forward with their declaration of independence, the Spanish government will likely use Article 155 of the constitution, which, with the approval of Spain's Senate, would allow it to suspend powers of the Catalan government.

That is also the reason that this particular protest is so much smaller that those which have been held over the last few weeks, such as the massive "Si" (Yes) rally that was staged before Catalonia held its controversial independence referendum on October 1.

On Thursday, Spain's fifth-largest bank, Sabadell, said it was considering whether to shift its headquarters away from Catalonia in the first major sign that the wealthy region's push for independence from Spain could scare away big business. Indeed, "even the threat that Barcelona's football team might be excluded from the Spanish league" would be a key issue for many voters. "From an economic point of view it would be a total disaster", he said. "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".

"The situation has already caused a serious constitutional crisis".

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In Madrid, Spain's National Court unconditionally released two senior officers of Catalonia's regional police force and the leaders of two pro-independence civic groups being investigated for sedition in connection with the referendum.

Pro-independence Catalans often refer to the northeastern region as a "country". The court ruled that the plebiscite was illegal. Turnout was 43%. There have been several claims of irregularities, and many ballot boxes were seized by the Spanish police. Catalan authorities say the "Yes" vote for secession won by a landslide, although less than half of the electorate voted. They had been sent in on the orders of embattled prime minister Mariano Rajoy. "It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding", Rajoy told the El Pais newspaper in an interview.

Borrell added that: "Catalonia is not a state like Kosovo where rights were systematically violated".

"If today you let Spain break up with Catalonia, a domino effect will follow across the continent". Madrid considers the referendum illegitimate and refuses to recognize the results of the vote.

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Thus, although the plebiscite was in line with the global law, the worldwide community will unlikely recognize Catalonia as a state and everything will depend on Madrid's approval or disapproval, the analyst concluded.

But some people went further, chanting "Don't be fooled, Catalonia is Spain" and calling for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to be jailed.

Once Catalonia declares independence, a so-called "Law on Transition" would come into effect establishing the region as a "democratic and social" republic, and opening a period for it to set up its own laws and institutions.

The prospects for an independence declaration remained up in the air after a constitutional Court suspended a Catalan parliament session next week during which separatist lawmakers wanted to bring up the secession plan.

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Protests erupt in Spain over Catalonia's move for independence