HIGHWAY TO EL
Catalan leader calls for ‘peaceful’ resistance as Spain takes control
SACKED Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont yesterday called for independence supporters to put up ‘peaceful’ resistance in the mayhem of the Spanish takeover.
As tensions continued to rise in the troubled region, the ousted president vowed in a pre-recorded TV address never to stand down.
His call for calm came after a dramatic mass protest on Barcelona’s streets by a 17,000-strong pro-independence crowd on Friday incited angry violent clashes with pro-national groups.
Puigdemont coolly responded to the growing fury by going out for drinks and lunch at a restaurant in his hometown of Girona yesterday, as his statement played out on national TV.
But he still faces the real threat of arrest on Monday over Friday’s ‘illegal’ declaration of independence after Catalan MPs’ 70 to 40 vote in favour of a republic – boycotted by the opposition.
The move was the final straw for Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy who fired Puigdemont along with his Cabinet and Catalonia’s chief police officers and seized control of the troubled region.
He plans to hold a new statecontrolled regional election on December 21. Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said if Puigdemont refused to abandon his office Madrid would act with “intelligence and with common sense”. Asked what might happen if the Catalan leader faced prosecutors, he said: “No one is above the law.”
But Spain faces a rough ride in this constitutional crisis. Independence activists have vowed to form human chains around buildings to protect officials, and around 200,000 civil servants have said they will not accept orders from Madrid.
One Catalan union has called a 10-day strike in support of the new republic starting on Monday.
Meanwhile celebrations of the ‘independence’ were still going on last night.
Mum Olga Amargant, 45, and her daughter Sara, seven, were draped in the Catalan flag.
Olga said: “I want Spain to think about our democracy. We voted for this. That should be respected.” Monica Vaz and Nuria Valle, both 17, added: “People are
full of hope.”
AGAINST A unity protestor faces riot police DETERMINED Supporters in Barcelona celebrate ‘independence ‘
OUSTED But Puigdemont vows to stay