Po­lice sur­round Cata­lan par­lia­ment ahead of dec­la­ra­tion of sep­a­ra­tion

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Po­lice forces in the Span­ish city of Barcelona have sur­rounded the re­gional par­lia­ment com­pound hours ahead of a po­ten­tial dec­la­ra­tion of se­ces­sion of Cat­alo­nia.

The Mos­sos d’Es­quadra, Cat­alo­nia’s re­gional po­lice force, said on its Twit­ter page on Tues­day that se­cu­rity mea­sures were im­posed around the park where the par­lia­ment is lo­cated as there was the risk that op­po­nents and sup­port­ers of Cat­alo­nia’s sep­a­ra­tion cam­paign could ap­proach the area dur­ing a planned ses­sion in which re­gional lead­ers may de­clare Cat­alo­nia’s se­ces­sion from Spain.

“For se­cu­rity rea­sons, Parc de la Ci­u­tadella is closed to the public to­day,” said the short state­ment, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Sev­eral blue po­lice vans were parked out­side of the par­lia­ment build­ing while metal bar­ri­ers were set up at the en­trance to the park.

A po­lice spokesman said au­thor­i­ties hoped to “pre­vent any sit­u­a­tion that would put pres­sure on par­lia­men­tary ac­tiv­ity.”

“We are try­ing to avoid these sit­u­a­tions, both on the part of pro-unity pro­test­ers as well as by groups of rad­i­cal sep­a­ratists,” he said.

The spokesman added that “a group of peo­ple forced their way into the park and threw ob­jects against the par­lia­ment build­ing” on Sun­day, when hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple staged a mas­sive rally in Barcelona against the se­ces­sion drive.

Sep­a­ratist or­ga­ni­za­tions in Cat­alo­nia have called on sup­port­ers of se­ces­sion to gather in front of the par­lia­ment “to sup­port and de­fend the dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence.”

The calls come as Cata­lan Leader Car­les Puigde­mont could fi­nally de­clare se­ces­sion dur­ing the Tues­day par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, more than a week after a con­tro­ver­sial ref­er­en­dum in which around 90 per­cent from a pop­u­la­tion of 2.3 mil­lion vot­ers, less than half of those el­i­gi­ble to vote in Cat­alo­nia, en­dorsed the sep­a­ra­tion cam­paign. The vote came amid some un­prece­dented ten­sions on the streets as more than 900 peo­ple were in­jured in clashes with the po­lice.

The Span­ish gov­ern­ment in Madrid has la­beled the en­tire process of seek­ing ref­er­en­dum in Cat­alo­nia as il­le­gal, in­clud­ing the ref­er­en­dum and the Tues­day vote in the re­gional par­lia­ment.

The po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, the most se­ri­ous for Spain in nearly four decades, have hugely af­fected the eco­nom­i­cally-vi­brant Cat­alo­nia, as ma­jor com­pa­nies and banks have ei­ther moved their head­quar­ters out of Barcelona or have an­nounced plans to do so if re­gional lead­ers de­clare se­ces­sion.

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