Spain 'will act' if Catalan independence is declared on Tuesday

Catalonia Spain Wall Mural Street Art Graffiti

And by extension, Catalonia will automatically be forced out of the European Union.

Mr Rajoy has not ruled out the "nuclear option" of removing the Catalan government and calling fresh regional elections.

He has also threatened to suspend the region's existing autonomous status.

The government side holds a majority in the Senate, the institution charged with enforcing the article.

The slogan for the Barcelona protest, which was organised by the Societat Civil Catalana, the main anti-independence group in Catalonia, was Enough, let's recover good sense!

Catalonia held a disputed referendum on October 1, in which 90 per cent of participating Catalans voted for secession.

Separatists' roadmap for independence consists of a declaration of independence followed by a series of legislative steps and votes to set up a new state, which could take months.

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Monday meeting was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court to pre-empt a hypothetical push for independence.

Despite the outrage, Rajoy and Spanish King Felipe VI defended the police and doubled down on their stance to take whatever measures necessary to keep Catalonia from seceding.

"But in that case rectifications will have to be made".

Turnout was 43 percent as Catalans who reject independence largely boycotted the poll.

Puigdemont hinted in an interview on Sunday that the region would go ahead with the declaration if Madrid continued to refuse dialogue.

Spain last week also apologised for the violent scenes seen last weekend during the unofficial referendum. The referendum was accompanied by police violence as they tried to stop the vote from taking place.

That shocked even many Catalans who were opposed to independence and sparked angry demonstrations against the police.

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"Many people stayed home and didn't vote (Sunday) so the whole question of the mandate that he would have in speaking before that Parliament and declaring independence would be challenged". Puigdemont is scheduled to address the regional parliament on Tuesday evening.

Puigdemont has called for European Union mediation, which Rajoy has rejected.

Others called for dialogue.

Pressure mounted on Monday against Catalan vow to break away from Spain after hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied to defend national unity, but the region's leader maintained his threat to formally declare independence possibly within days.

"They do not want to get embroiled in a messy confrontation or encourage separatist movements". The crisis would drag on but Rajoy's hand would be strengthened.

Barcelona's mayor was the latest to speak out against a declaration of independence, saying this would put "social cohesion" at risk.

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