Tens of thousands demonstrate in Barcelona during a general strike following Sunday's referendum.
Tens of thousands demonstrate in Barcelona during a general strike following Sunday's referendum. MARTA PEREZ

Catalonia declares it will split from Spain within a week

CATALONIA'S President has claimed the autonomous region will declare independence from Spain "at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.

Carles Puigdemont told the BBC it would be "an error which changes everything” if the Spanish government were to take control of the region's administration following last Sunday's referendum on independence, although he admitted there had been no contact with Madrid.

The central government has described the referendum as illegal.

Appealing for international mediation to help solve the crisis, Mr Puigdemont told the corporation he disagreed with the European Commission's statement that it was internal matter for Spain.

Speaking shortly before a blistering attack on Catalonia's politicians by Spain's King Felipe, He said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.

Earlier in a rare nationwide address, Spain's King Felipe launched a blistering attack on Catalonia's pro-independence regional government, accusing the secessionists of "breaking democratic principles” and trying to split up Spain.

He said the independence campaigners had failed to respect the Spanish constitution "repeatedly, deliberately and consciously”.

"Thanks to their irresponsible behaviour, those authorities have put the social identity of Catalonia and all Spain at risk,” he said.

"They have shown contempt for the affection and feelings of solidarity which have united and will unite all Spaniards.”

He made no mention of the hundreds of injured as a result of police actions during the banned referendum in Catalonia, which with an overwhelming vote in favour of independence has brought Spain's worst constitutional crisis in decades to a head.

He then underlined "the crown's unswerving commitment to the Spanish constitution and to the unity of Spain.”

But he stressed that Spain "will overcome difficult times”. - Henry Austin, The Independent



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