Rallies in Support of Spanish Unity Continue in Barcelona

Protesters congratulate Spanish policemen and decorate police vans with Spanish and Catalan flags during a demonstration called by

Catalonia's secessionist leader on Monday faced increased pressure to abandon plans to declare the region independent from Spain, with France and Germany expressing support for the country's unity. Catalan officials say people voted overwhelmingly for secession.

It is expected that the head of the government of Catalonia Carles Pujdeme will address the local Parliament on Tuesday and might be asked to declare independence.

The measure, which is described as the "nuclear option" by Spanish analysts, has never been invoked by the government since the restoration of democracy after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975.

"Equally I hope the Madrid government will engage for the first time in meaningful talks - there is a lot of pressure on Madrid presently, and I think there is an opportunity for the European Union to facilitate a dialogue".

"The true dignity however, lies with the people of Catalonia", continued Chapman. The majority of the region's unionists boycotted the October 1 referendum, which was banned by Madrid and disrupted by a violent police crackdown.

"If independence were to be recognised - which is not something that's being discussed - the most immediate outcome would be that [Catalonia] automatically left the European Union".

And France said that Catalan independence would not receive worldwide recognition. "They were putting it in Spanish banks". Spanish borrowing costs fell to a one-week low and the main share index .IBEX touched a week high.

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The leader of Spain's Socialist opposition party, Pedro Sanchez, told reporters in Barcelona that his party would back government action if independence was declared unilaterally on Tuesday.

Women wear masks during a pro-union demonstration organised by the Catalan Civil Society organisation in Barcelona, Spain, October 8, 2017.

Final results released by Catalan authorities showed 90 per cent of the 2.3 million people who voted on Sunday backed independence. Turn-out for the referendum was 43 percent.

"I'm calling on the sensible people in the Catalan government. don't jump off the edge because you'll take the people with you". As for Spain's hard-left Podemos party, its leader Pablo Iglesias was roundly booed by some 50 pro-unity demonstrators when he was spotted at Barcelona Sants railway station early yesterday morning - catching a train for Madrid.

"We are peaceful citizens who believe in coexistence and freedom. We will see what happens this week but we have to speak out very loudly so they know what we want". Monday meeting was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court to pre-empt a hypothetical push for independence.

The Spanish government will try to cause the "least possible damage" in connection with Catalonia's unilateral decision on independence, but will act to restore law in the region.

Speaking to Catalonia's TV3 on Sunday night, Puigdemont said he was unhappy with the Spanish government's unwillingness to negotiate over the issue, adding: "If the Spanish state doesn't respond positively, we'll be forced do what we came to do".

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