Cataluña crisis: Calls for pro-unity rallies in Spain

SUPPORTERS of a unified Spain are  planning a rally in Madrid following last weekend’s illegal referendum for Catalonian independence that turned violent as police tried to stop the voting.

A demonstration is planned in Spain’s capital city and supporters are also calling for a similar rally in Cataluña’s capital Barcelona.

Spain’s government representative in Cataluña, Enric Millo, has apologised to those hurt during police efforts to stop the referendum though he cast doubt on the figure of 900 people injured claimed by Catalan officials. But he blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote.

He said, “When I see these images, and more so when I know people have been hit, pushed and even one person who was hospitalised, I can’t help but regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened.”

But speaking a few hours later on UK television Spain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ildefonso Castro insisted the police crackdown against Catalan voters was “absolutely proportionate”.

Mr Castro told Sky News, “I think the action taken by the police last Sunday in Barcelona was absolutely proportionate. They were complying with the ruling of the court.

“Having people injured – not in the numbers the Catalan government said – is sad. We don’t like that and we understand it’s not pleasant to watch that on TV.”

Asked about the possibility of Cataluña declaring independence, he added, “The most important thing is to be within the frame of the Spanish constitution.

“You can disagree with the law, but you can not disobey the law. If you disobey the law, you become an outlaw.”

In the latest developments the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont now plans to address the regional  parliament on Tuesday at 6pm after Spain’s Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

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