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Spain: PM Mariano Rajoy threatens Catalonia's autonomy

Spain: PM Mariano Rajoy threatens Catalonia's autonomy

BARCELONA, Spain-Spanish unionists in Catalonia finally found their voice last Sunday, resurrecting Spain's flag as a symbol of patriotism after decades of it being associated with the Franco dictatorship.

Dyfrig Siencyn, who also represents Dolgellau on the council, has slammed the Spanish Government for abusing Catalonion citizens as they exercised their right to campaign for an independent state.

Careful not to undermine Rajoy, the European Union has merely called for dialogue between the sides.

In the aftermath of Catalonia's independence referendum, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed the four-time champions of Europe could end up playing outside the Spanish league if the region gained independence from Madrid.

But uncertainty still haunts the country, with the standoff also raising deep concerns in the European Union as it continues to grapple with Britain's planned exit from the bloc.

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned anew today that Spain will not be divided by a declaration of independence from Catalonia and said the government is ready to respond to any such attempt.

Kofi Annan, in his role as chairman of The Elders, a group of notable public figures formed in 2007 to promote peace, said "consultation and not confrontation" was needed. "This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics".

Turnout figures were impressive, but were still lower than what was achieved by the pro-independence camp in an October 3 general strike, when 700,000 people took to Barcelona's streets, according to Guardia Urbana estimates. Those numbers resemble the pro-independence rallies that Barcelona has also seen in recent years.

Catalonia, a northeastern region about the size of Belgium, is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy.

In a sign of the potential for violence, police beat unarmed voters while trying to close down polling stations during the referendum vote.

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Catalonia's top judicial official, meanwhile, ordered additional Spanish police protection for the headquarters of the regional judiciary.

Dozens of protesters surrounded two Mossos vans and called the officers standing guard in front of them "traitors".

But some people went further, chanting Don't be fooled, Catalonia is Spain and calling for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to be jailed.

But turnout in the referendum, which was ruled illegal by the Spanish courts, was put at just 43% after it was largely boycotted by those who want to remain part of Spain. But less than half of the region's electorate voted, and the way the referendum was held has raised a host of complaints about its legality and validity.

Puigdemont said in an interview broadcast on Catalan television on Sunday that a law passed by the Catalan parliament preparing the way for the referendum called for a declaration of independence in the event of a "yes" vote. Click any of these buttons below!

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