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Rajoy urges ‘silent majority’ to help end ‘the havoc of separatism’

SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that next month’s snap elections in Cataluña will help end “the havoc of separatism” in the troubled region.

His comments came during a first visit to Barcelona since his government imposed direct rule a fortnight ago.

Rajoy was in the Catalan capital on Sunday to address a campaign meeting and show support for his centre-right Popular Party ahead of the poll.

He said that he had “exhausted all roads” after the Catalan government led by Carles Puigdemont issued a unilateral declaration of independence at the end of October, and called on the “silent majority” to “convert their voice into a vote.”

“We will never let anyone break the ties that bind us,” he added. “We must recover Cataluña from the havoc of separatism.”

The address followed a rally in protest at the jailing of eight former cabinet members and two activists which saw an estimated 750,000 people take to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday.

Earlier, ex-parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell and five other former lawmakers were released on bail after being quizzed by a Supreme Court judge.

Sacked leader Carles Puigdemont remains in Belgium and must appear in a Belgian court on November 17 as a judge deliberates over a European Arrest Warrant issued in his name.

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