Catalonia debates as independence declaration looms

Catalonia: French minister calls for stronger EU to SQUASH separatist movements

The Catalan government had previously said it would declare independence within 48 hours of a yes vote in the referendum. Spanish law bans such representations if they are used to incite acts of violence.

The region's president Carles Puigdemont is expected to address parliament tomorrow following a landmark referendum to separate.

Catalan leaders have said they will implement the result of that ballot, which saw 90.18% support for breaking away among the almost 2.3 million people who voted.

The apparent threat comes amid heightened tensions between Catalonia and Spain as the wealthy region threatens to break away following an independence referendum held on October 1.

Some 300 people demonstrate with Catalan pro-independence "estelada" flags in front of the Spanish Consulate in Perpignan in France. Apart from these aspects, which have historically fed into the independence movement, residents of Barcelona say they pay exorbitant taxes to Madrid and don't receive their worth back in services.

Taking control of the governance of Catalonia is one of the tools that conservative Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the central government would contemplate to deal with the political crisis.

Spain and the European Commission, the European Union's executive branch, maintain that Catalonia's independence referendum was illegal.

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Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has pledged to push ahead for independence.

Many Catalans have long highlighted the region's differences from the rest of Spain but the latest surge for independence began in 2010, when Spain's top court struck down key parts of a charter that would have granted Catalonia greater autonomy and recognized it as a nation within Spain.

He also urged moderate Catalan nationalists to distance themselves from the "radicals" in the separatist camp who are pushing hardest for an independence move. Rajoy has warned Catalonia not to act on an October 1 independence referendum. "We will apply what the law says", Puigdemont says in the programme on Catalonia's TV3, according to excerpts on the broadcaster's website.

Meanwhile, French European Affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau says Paris will not recognize Catalonia if it unilaterally declares independence.

Catalans speak up against a split: Social media was once again full of images of protests in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, but this time from those who don't want to see a breakaway region. Madrid has expressed concerns that the regional parliament may vote for a unilateral independence from Spain.

Whatever happens this week, it's clear that there are deep divisions over the issue, not only between Madrid and Barcelona, but within Catalonia as well.

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