Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

Catalonia will declare independence within days, regional leader says

The European Parliament is set to debate the crisis in Catalonia on Wednesday amid mounting criticism of a deafening silence in Brussels.

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.

He said the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was in touch with Rajoy but stressed that the vote on Sunday was "not legal" and it was "an internal matter".

United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was "very disturbed" by the referendum unrest while European Union president Donald Tusk urged Madrid to avoid further violence.

A day after a referendum on independence for Catalonia that was marred by clashes between supporters and police officers, the Spanish regions leaders were meeting on Monday to determine how to convert the vote into a state free from the rest of the country.

The secessionist leader of Catalonia called for worldwide mediation on Monday in the region's dispute with Madrid, a day after hundreds of people were hurt as police swung truncheons and fired rubber bullets to disrupt an independence referendum.

He also said it was the duty of any Government to uphold the rule of law and sometimes that requires the "proportionate use of force".

At least 33 police officers were also injured during the clashes. ARMENPRESS reports, citing Bloomberg, traffic was cleared along the A-2 and AP-2 highways into the Catalan capital from Zaragoza and Madrid as of 4:25 p.m.

Labor strikes and protests shut down transportation and businesses across Catalonia on Tuesday, while Spain's king criticized the regional government, saying its "irresponsible behavior" put the stability of Catalonia and all of Spain at risk.

Spain's Caixabank, Catalonia's largest lender, and ministers reassured bank customers that their deposits are secure from the growing crisis. 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".

Meanwhile, Spain's justice minister warned that any declaration of independence could lead to article 155 of the country's constitution being invoked, which allows the national government to intervene in the running of an autonomous region.

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