Former king is carted off in Barcelona as independence war of words intensifies

BARCELONA City Council has removed a bust of former king Juan Carlos from its chambers, in a decision that has been interpreted as a response to King Felipe’s recent statement on independence for Cataluña.
The bust was taken down on Thursday July 23, with the city’s new left-wing coalition government carrying out a review of artistic representations of the monarchy throughout the city, according to deputy mayor Gerardo Pisarello, and the councillor with responsibility for cultural heritage, Xavier Domènech.
“There is an inflated symbolism relating to the monarchy, which is in contrast to the under-representation of other citizen traditions that are more appropriate in this city,” the politicians said in a statement.
The timing of the move, though, was pointed, with current monarch King Felipe present in the Catalan capital on Thursday, where he made a speech in which he insisted governments and institutions could not ignore Spain’s constitutional law. The king’s remarks were aimed at Catalan president, Artur Mas, who has said a victory for pro-independence forces in elections in September would be considered a mandate for a unilateral declaration of independence.
The king said: “At its deepest level, respecting the law is a source of legitimacy and an unavoidable requirement for democratic coexistence in peace and freedom.”
He added that the Spanish constitution established after the death of Franco in 1978, which explicitly opposes regions’ right to independence without agreement from the whole of Spain, is “our fundamental law, one that has presided over one of the longest periods of stability in our history.”
The Spanish government has refused Cataluña permission to hold a referendum, and recently Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy stated: “There is not going to be Catalan independence.”

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