Rajoy visits Barcelona to call for unity
5 The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, said elections in Catalonia will help the region recover from “the havoc of separatism”, during his first visit to Barcelona since Madrid imposed direct rule.
Rajoy, pictured, visited the Catalan capital last weekend to show support for his Popular party’s campaign ahead of regional elections next month. His visit comes two weeks after he dismissed the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, his government ernment and the parliament, ment, suspended the e region’s autonomy and d called for elections there e on 21 December.
Rajoy said he had “exhausted all roads” after the Catalan government’s unilateral declaration of independence last month, and called on the “silent majority” to “convert their voice into a vote”. Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Catalans protested against the jailing of regional officials over their push for independence from Spain. The protest followed the release on bail of Carme Forcadell, the speaker of the Catalan parliament – one of dozens of lawmakers sacked by Mad Madrid last month – after postin posting bail. Bar Barcelona munic municipal police put turnout for the m march at 7 750,000, and crowds stret stretched for mor more than 15 b blocks.