Spanish king condemns Catalan separatists in national address

Spanish king condemns Catalan separatists in national address

Spanish king condemns Catalan separatists in national address

Tuesday's protest follows a call by Catalan trade unions for a general strike in Spain's northeastern region to condemn police violence, which left nearly 900 injured, during Sunday's unauthorised vote. The autonomous Catalan government has called for global mediation.

On Tuesday evening he said that Catalan authorities "have placed themselves outside the law and democracy, they have tried to break the unity of Spain and national sovereignty".

Participants in the referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence but turnout was only about 43 per cent as Catalans who favour remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the ballot.

In this Sunday, 1 October 2017 photo, Spanish National Police scuffle with people trying to reach a voting site at a school assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government in Barcelona, Spain.

Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture and Barcelona is its capital.

Under Spanish law, the government can take full administrative control of Catalonia. "With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic", Puigdemont said in a televised address. The 31-year-old, who grew up and lives on the Balearic island of Mallorca but is also a Catalan speaker, said he had watched events of the weekend unfold "with concern and sadness".

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He said that the use of article 155, and the possible arrest of members of the Catalan government - including himself - could be the "ultimate mistake".

Late Tuesday Catalonia's leader, Carles Puigdemont, told the BBC that the region will declare independence in a matter of days.

The king's speech comes as he is holding talks with national opposition leaders to attempt to find a solution to the crisis, which could include suspending Catalonia's government.

Almost 900 people were hurt as police violently tried to enforce a Spanish court order suspending the vote, which the government had declared illegal.

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