Catalan Independence: Spain May Use Constitution to Block Referendum


October 8: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that his government will do everything in its power, including invoking Article 155 of the Constitution, to stop the Catalan Government declaring independence from the country.

Rajoy has vowed to block any independence move and has also rejected calls for mediation in a dispute that has drawn cries of concern all over Spain, and even from Barcelona and Real Madrid footballers.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais published Sunday, Rajoy said that he will consider employing any measure "allowed by the law" to stop the region's separatists.

Madrid's central Colon Square was transformed into a sea of Spanish flags as several thousand people joined a "patriotic" march organised by activists to defend the unity of Spain.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia's capital Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to any declaration of independence from Spain, showing how divided the region is on the issue.

Other protests asking for dialogue were held in cities including Valencia, Bilbao, Pamplona and Sanitago de Compostela, news agency Europa Press reported. This is our flag, and Catalonia's is our flag", the man says, wrapped in the red and yellow Spanish flag. "Viva Espana!

Gas Natural said its board had made a decision to move its registered office to Madrid for as long as the legal uncertainty in Catalonia continued, joining moves by several other companies.

The final results from last week's disputed referendum in the wealthy north-eastern region suggested 90 percent of the 2.3 million people who voted backed independence. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, meantime, must decide whether to preemptively reassert control, as some of his main allies are urging him to do.

Demonstrators challenge Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra regional police officers at the end of a march in downtown Barcelona Spain
Demonstrators challenge Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra regional police officers at the end of a march in downtown Barcelona Spain

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is expected to address the regional parliament on Tuesday at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) after Spain's Constitutional Court earlier suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

Once Catalonia declares independence, a so-called "Law on Transition" would come into effect establishing the region as a "democratic and social" republic, and opening a period for it to set up its own laws and institutions.

"Unity of Spain will never be defeated" was one of the most heard shouts in the march, which was attended by people of all ages.

GettyTens of thousands rallied against the region's independence bid from Spain.

"People of peace that are here, we don't want war, we don't want conflict with Catalonia".

People who were wearing white were backing the slogan, "Shall we talk?" which Jordi Cuixart, president of one of the one of the grassroots groups driving Catalonia's separatist movement, told the Guardian was a call to Spanish politicians. "I would like to do it at the right time ... that it is more important at the moment".

The warnings by the business sector have coincided with the first calls from within Puigdemont's government to hold off on a declaration of independence.

An overwhelming majority of voters pushed for Catalonia's independence from Spain in the referendum held October 1.

Civil liberties groups decry Sessions' guidance on religious freedom
Religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers' religious precepts.