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Calls in Spain for a Peaceful Solution to Crisis in Catalonia

12 October, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Catalonia referendum: Call for pro-unity rallies in Spain

Every 11 September for the past five years, hundreds of thousands of people have thronged its streets on Catalonia's national day - La Diada de Catalunya - to call loudly but peacefully for independence from Spain.

Within hours CaixaBank, Spains third-biggest lender and Catalonias biggest company, said its board had made a decision to move its registered office to Valencia.

Caroline Gray meanwhile notes that the lack of the worldwide support has made Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his party doubt the decision to secede from Spain.

Separatist sentiment surged after Spain's Constitutional Court in 2010 struck down parts of a Catalan autonomy charter that defined the region as a "nation". "The world doesn't know the truth", Alaminos said, pointing to the enormous crowd.

The huge rally in the center of Barcelona took place today (Sunday) after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Saturday that he does not rule out the possibility of dissolving the Catalan government and holding new elections in the province. "And the worst of all is nationalistic passion", Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian Nobel Prize victor, who spends much of his time in Spain, said according to local media.

"We have to give it one more chance, maybe the last chance, and perhaps the only way that can happen is to start with a ceasefire", Sr Vila said.

Already battered by a corporate stampede to exit the region, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is seeking to hold the momentum as the clock ticks down to a meeting on Tuesday that could trigger the separation process.

Some European officials are also anxious that any softening in Spain's stance towards Catalan independence could fuel secessionist feelings among other groups in Europe such as Belgium's Flemings and Italy's Lombards.

As helicopters hovered overhead, a river of supporters of Spanish unity snaked from Urquinaona Square down Via Laietana and past the city's cathedral to its historic train station, where politicians read manifestoes in favor of a united Spain.

REUTERS/Juan Medina People hold a large Spanish flag during a pro-union demonstration organised by the Catalan Civil Society organisation in Barcelona, Spain October 8, 2017.

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The prime minister also said he planned to keep extra police deployed to Catalonia until the crisis was over.

"Everyone thinks waving the Spanish flag means we are right wing or fascists", said Alfredo Matías, 47, who held one edge of an oversize Spanish flag.

Rajoy, in his interview, also suggested that the time had come for the flag's stigma to be lifted.

Araceli Ponze, 72, said that many people felt both Catalan and Spanish.

He said his message to Spaniards was that "they have a government who will defend, as it is its obligation, the national unity and sovereignty".

Around 350,000 people attended the rally, municipal police said, while organisers put turnout at between 930,000 and 950,000.

Mario Vargas Llosa, a victor of the Nobel Prize for Literature who lived in Barcelona as a young writer, blamed "the ravages of nationalism" for the current impasse.

The Catalan authorities say that a majority of those who voted supported a split from Spain. Thousands gathered in Barcelona Sunday to demand Puigdemont shelves his plans for independence.

Played behind closed doors, in protest at the handling of the referendum by the Spanish authorities, the match will not be the only aspect of Catalan football to feel the impact of the referendum.

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