France recognizes the independence of Catalonia

Catalonia Spain Wall Mural Street Art Graffiti

Rajoy has said the central government could take direct control of Catalonia, which now has a measure of autonomy. Videos of police pulling voters out by their hair and kicking them on stairs flashed around the world. "We have seen attempts to vote, we have seen ballot boxes, polling stations, a lot of people trying to vote". Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa said that about 930,000 people had gathered, adding that "for some time now, nationalism has been wreaking havoc in Catalonia and that's why we're here, to stop it".

Delegates to the party's conference in Glasgow passed a resolution which "condemns the actions of the Spanish Civil Guard using disproportionate and unnecessary force against Catalan citizens".

Rajoy was forced to apologize on Friday, but many in Catalan say the crackdown has only fueled their desire for independence.

She called for members of the Catalan government "who still respect democracy and freedom to refrain from jumping into the void".

Earlier on Monday, the French Government stated it would not recognise Catalonia should it go ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence, arguing that such an act would result in expulsion from the European Union.

Pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont is coming under increasing pressure after a number of Catalan-based companies re-located outside of the region in the wake of an unofficial independence vote just over a week ago.

On Sunday, a poll published by the conservative La Razon daily said 79.4 per cent of Spaniards, and 58.9 per cent of Catalans, were against the unilateral declaration of independence Catalan authorities are said to be considering.

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Since then, hundreds of thousands of residents have thronged onto the streets every September 11, a Catalan holiday, to demand independence.

The worldwide community is also speaking up on the eve of what could be Spain's most dire crisis in recent history. "They were putting it in Spanish banks".

It's not clear what might happen if Catalonia does actually try to secede.

Spain's finance minister on Monday blamed the Catalan government for companies moving their headquarters out of the region, while his euro zone colleagues played down the impact of the Spanish crisis on the shared currency.

Three of the four main parties in the Spanish parliament have clearly stated their support for whatever the Spanish government needs to do to maintain law in the face of the declaration, which could mean suspending the region's autonomy.

But there are many other unanswered questions, including continued membership in the European Union.

The vote was declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court - and protesters for both the leave and remain sides took to the streets in their thousands over the weekend.

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