Published: Sun, October 22, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Catalan leader accuses Spain of 'worst attack' since Franco

Catalan leader accuses Spain of 'worst attack' since Franco

The Spanish government unveiled plans on Saturday to sack the separatist leaders of Catalonia and call new regional elections under previously unused and wide-reaching powers to prevent the country from breaking up. "No one can question Barcelona's commitment to Catalan society and its democratic institutions".

Spanish government actions are "a direct attack on democracy", Puigdemont added, announcing that the Catalan parliament will meet to discuss a response to them. In his message, Putteman said that the suspension of the Declaration of independence, an Autonomous community of Spain "remains in force". "We can't allow ourselves to become a tool manipulated for political interests".

Prosecutors said Saturday they would take mop-haired former journalist Puigdemont to court for "rebellion" if he makes any attempt to declare independence, a crime punishable with up to 30 years in jail.

He tweeted: "Today more than ever, let's defend democracy and civil and political rights".

Mr Rajoy said he was concerned about the financial impact if Catalonia broke away, stressing the latest figures on the economy were "worrying".

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who opposes independence without a valid referendum, called Rajoy's measures "a serious attack" on self-government in Catalonia.

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The Nationalist movement was, predictably, in uproar at their imminent loss of regional power and a major demonstration is planned this evening in Barcelona "in defence of rights and freedoms".

Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the move, greeting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's announcement with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona, the regional capital.

At the national level, Pablo Echenique, a secretary in the far-left Podemos party, vowed to work to oust Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insists that Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who heads the wealthy northeastern region's government, has broken the law several times in pushing for independence, thus justifying the imposition of central government control.

The Madrid government is set to take some powers away from the Catalonian administration - in an unprecedented move aimed at thwarting secession attempts.

He is proposing that the powers of Catalan officials be taken over by central government ministers.

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The move is aimed at blocking the independence movement that has gained pace since a disputed October 1 referendum on separating Catalonia from Spain. She requested anonymity in line with internal rules.

Catalonia is roughly evenly split over whether to break away from Spain, according to polls, with supporters saying the region pays too much into national coffers but their opponents arguing that it is stronger as part of a bigger country.

The Spanish government after an emergency meeting on Saturday will forward to the President of the Senate PIO Garcia Escudero specific proposals.

The measures could include stripping some or all of the top Catalan officials of their authority and laying out a roadmap to an early regional election for as early as January. These are: to return to legality; to restore normality and coexistence in Catalonia; to continue the region's economic recovery; and to hold elections under normal conditions.

The crisis threatens to fracture Spain, one of the European Union's principal members, and has prompted mass public protests in Catalonia and elsewhere.

His proposals, under the never-used-before article 155 of the constitution, will nevertheless put an end to Catalonia's home rule prerogative, and mark an escalation of Spain's biggest political crisis since a failed coup d'etat in 1981.

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