Catalonia referendum: Call for pro-unity rallies in Spain

Rallies are expected in Spain against Catalonian independence, after Sunday’s disputed referendum.

Demonstrations are planned in the capital Madrid and other cities, with supporters calling for a similar rally in Catalonia’s capital Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Spain’s government representative in Catalonia earlier apologised to those hurt during police efforts to stop the referendum.

But Enric Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote.

In the first apology by a Spanish government official over the violence during the referendum, Mr Millo said he could not help but “regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened”.

Hundreds of people were injured as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters.

Thirty-three police officers were also hurt.

What are the latest political developments?

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont now plans to address the Catalan parliament on Tuesday at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the speaker of the parliament in the autonomous north-eastern region says.

Spain’s Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

Media captionThe BBC’s Tom Burridge on how the crisis in Spain is likely to unfold

There is speculation that the parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting, based on the referendum.

The final results from the poll show 90% of the 2.3m people who voted backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

There have been several claims of irregularities, and many ballot boxes were seized by the Spanish police.

After a cabinet meeting, the Spanish government spokesman also expressed regret that people had “suffered consequences” during Sunday’s vote – though he cast doubt on the numbers who had been injured.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo suggested that new elections in Catalonia might be a way to heal the fracture caused by the disputed referendum.

Meanwhile, the former leader of Catalonia, Artur Mas, told the Financial Times that the region was not yet ready for real independence – even though he believed it had won the right to break away.


Stepping back from the brink?

By BBC’s James Reynolds, Alicante

The competing authorities in Barcelona and Madrid could each take a potentially dramatic step. Barcelona has the option of making a unilateral declaration of independence. For its part, Madrid has the power to dissolve self-rule in Catalonia. Each step – if taken – would provoke a constitutional crisis in Spain.

There are some signs that each side may choose to pause. Mr Puigdemont says he will deliver a report to the Catalan parliament on Tuesday about the political situation – a deliberately vague form of words which gives him room for manoeuvre.


More on the Catalan crisis


In other developments:

  • Some major firms have decided to move either their headquarters or transfer their legally-registered bases from Barcelona
  • The Catalan chief of police, Josep Lluis Trapero, appeared before a judge in a national criminal court in Madrid on suspicion of sedition against the state.

source: BBC