Saturday, 16 December, 2017

King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

The EU has said 'violence can never be an instrument in politics' The EU has said 'violence can never be an instrument in politics'
Elias Hubbard | 07 October, 2017, 00:48

Speaking to reporters, he called for "mediation", "which means there must be the presence of a third party, which must be worldwide to be efficient".

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has called for global mediation to resolve the region's growing crisis with the Spanish Government, saying Europe can not continue to ignore the issue after around 900 people were injured during the police crackdown on the referendum.

In response, King Felipe VI accused Catalan leaders of shattering democratic principles and dividing society.

Participants in the referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence but turnout was only about 43 per cent as Catalans who favour remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the ballot.

In his televised address to the nation, the king said the Catalan leaders who organised the referendum showed their "disrespect to the powers of the state".

For more, we speak with Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College and author of the forthcoming book "Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography".

Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia's regional government, has offered his support to protesters.

ABC News reported that he also said the bid by authorities in Catalonia to push ahead with independence has "undermined coexistence" in the region.

Around 300,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona, closing metro stations, schools and cafes and in some places bringing the city to a standstill.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Catalan referendum "cannot be ignored", but Spainish PM Mariano Rajoy and his government have not aknowledged the vote.

Catalonian separatists "attempted to appropriate the historical institutions of Catalonia and these authorities in a clear and definitive way and they have put themselves outside the rule of law and democracy", the king said.

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's elected leader, has asked for European Union mediation in negotiations and said Catalonia has "won the right to an independent state".

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, reporting from Barcelona, said: "Many people are saying that the mandate, as they see it, of the referendum needs to be accepted and mirrored by the Catalan parliament".

The King is now holding talks with national opposition leaders.

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