Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who with other pro-independence Catalan leaders was deposed by Spain's national government on Friday, called on Saturday for peaceful resistance to Madrid's attempt to impose national rule on the autonomous region.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy obtained permission to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution in response to the Catalan parliament's Friday declaration of independence. Puidgemont urged Catalans to resist Article 155 implementation "without violence, without insults, in an inclusive way, respecting people."
"We will continue to work to build a free country," Puidgemont said, "to ensure we have a society with less injustice, more equality, more solidarity, and more fraternity with all the peoples of the world, starting with the peoples of Spain with whom we want to remain connected through respect and mutual recognition." Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 28, 2017
On Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's office said it will convene a special cabinet meeting over the weekend to trigger Article 155 of the constitution, kicking off a process of reining in Catalonia's regional autonomy. Rajoy had given Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont until 10 a.m. Thursday (local time) to clarify if the region had declared independence or not after an Oct. 1 referendum — Puigdemont had signed a declaration of independence then suspended it, asking for talks with Madrid. Puigdemont's response Thursday morning was that the regional parliament would likely approve a formal declaration of independence if Rajoy continued to "impede dialogue and continues its repression."
It isn't clear exactly what steps Rajoy's government will submit to the Senate to take partial control of Catalonia. Article 155 of the 1978 constitution has never been used before. But analysts say Madrid can't fully suspend Catalonia's autonomy but can take steps like taking control of the regional police, taking over Catalonia's finances, and calling a snap election. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont asserted that Catalonia had earned the right to independence from Spain, but asked the regional parliament "to suspend the declaration of independence" so talks could continue with the central government in Madrid, The New York Times reports. Puigdemont left open the possibility of dialogue with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has so far refused to explore conversations about Catalonia's secession.
Madrid immediately rejected Catalonia's "tacit" declaration after Puigdemont's speech, AFP reports. An Oct. 1 vote found Catalans in support of their independence, although the vote was ruled illegal by the Spanish courts.
"We are not criminals or coup plotters — just ordinary people who simply want to vote," Puigdemont said Tuesday. "We have nothing against the Spaniards." Jeva Lange