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AFP: Catalan leader delays announcement until 1230 GMT

AFP: Catalan leader delays announcement until 1230 GMT

26 October 2017 | 15:24 | FOCUS News Agency
Barcelona. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has delayed making his statement until 1230 GMT on Thursday, the regional government said, as discontent mounts among independence supporters in Barcelona over reports he is poised to call elections, AFP reported.
Two Catalan separatist lawmakers resigned over the reports which also say he will renounce declaring independence, and students and activists protested in Barcelona. However, there is as yet no official confirmation that is what Puigdemont will announce.

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AFP : Catalan leader warns crisis will escalate if Spain removes powers

AFP : Catalan leader warns crisis will escalate if Spain removes powers

26 October 2017 | 12:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Barcelona. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont warned Thursday that a crisis over an independence drive by Catalonia's separatists would escalate if Spain goes ahead with plans to take over the wealthy's region's powers, AFP reported.
"To solve that the government has called an extraordinary serious situation, it will create an even more serious extraordinary situation by seizing Catalonia's political autonomy," he wrote in a letter to the Spanish senate which is poised to approve measures on Friday to take away Catalonia's powers.
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Reuters: Crisis over Catalan independence nears crucial few days

Reuters: Crisis over Catalan independence nears crucial few days

26 October 2017 | 00:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Madrid. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont kept friends and foes guessing on Wednesday on whether he intends to unilaterally declare independence as the Spanish government prepares to impose direct rule to stop the region breaking away, Reuters reports.
Puigdemont spurned an invitation to explain his position to the Senate in Madrid on Thursday – an indication of the rigid stands taken by both sides in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.
He also kept his silence on whether to call for a new regional election, a move which might prompt the Madrid government to postpone its plan to take over Catalonia’s institutions and police.
The next few days could prove crucial in the battle of wills that has followed an independence referendum on Oct. 1, which Madrid declared illegal and the Catalan government said endorsed its claim to statehood.
While it is not clear how the central government will take over in practical terms, nor how Catalan civil servants and police will react, some independence supporters have threatened a campaign of civil disobedience, raising the possibility of ugly confrontations.
The Catalan secessionist drive is the most serious existential challenge to a Western European country since the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, when voters in the end decided to stay part of the United Kingdom.
It has caused deep resentment elsewhere in Spain, caused a flight of business from the wealthy region, and worried other European leaders who see it as fanning separatist sentiment elsewhere on the continent.
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The Local: Media workers and unions slam Spanish government plan to take control of Catalan TV and radio

The Local: Media workers and unions slam Spanish government plan to take control of Catalan TV and radio

25 October 2017 | 08:41 | FOCUS News Agency
Madrid. Spanish media unions and workers have criticised a move by the country's government to take control of Catalonia's public television and radio channels as part of its response to the Catalan independence drive, The Local reported.
On Friday, Spain's Senate will vote on measures proposed by PM Mariano Rajoy designed to halt the Catalan independence push, which along with dismissing the regional government would also include power over the Catalan Media Corporation (CCMA) – the body capable of removing or replacing the people in charge of TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, which receives part of its funding from Catalonia’s regional government.
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría told radio station Onda Cero on Monday that the Madrid government's "intention with public media outlets is to return them to neutrality" but the move has provoked concern and significant criticism from media bodies and workers across the country.
The news council (Consejo de Informativos) at Spanish state-owned public media corporation RTVE, which is tasked with ensuring the objectivity of channels like TVE, reacted by insisting that "public media outlets should serve citizens, never governments".

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The Times: Spain will use force if Catalonia protests against direct rule

The Times: Spain will use force if Catalonia protests against direct rule

24 October 2017 | 11:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Madrid. A senior Spanish cabinet minister has warned that Madrid is prepared to use force to restore order in Catalonia as separatists vowed to resist direct rule.
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, the Spanish government spokesman and education minister, told The Times that Catalan police would be used to quell protests that threatened public order.
“No government wants any acts of violence but the government has to make sure that the law is obeyed and if there are people on the other side who do not want to obey the law, then, through the Mossos d’Esquadra [the Catalan police], we will have to restore the law,” Mr Méndez de Vigo said.
Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, said at the weekend that Madrid would impose direct rule on…

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AFP: Catalan separatists set key parliament session for Thursday

AFP: Catalan separatists set key parliament session for Thursday

23 October 2017 | 13:20 | FOCUS News Agency
Barcelona. Catalonia's parliament will hold a plenary session on Thursday to decide its response to the central government's move to dismiss the region's government, a spokesman for the ruling separatist coalition said Monday, AFP reported.
The plenary could continue on Friday when Spain's Senate is expected to vote on measures proposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to dismiss the Catalan government, said Lluis Corominas, the spokesman for the Together for Yes coalition.
Catalan separatist parties have threatened to declare independence if the Senate approves the measures.
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AFP: Catalan party threatens 'massive' civil disobedience against Spain

AFP: Catalan party threatens 'massive' civil disobedience against Spain

23 October 2017 | 12:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Madrid. A far-left Catalan party on Monday threatened "massive civil disobedience" if Spain dismisses the region's government to stave off its threat to declare independence, AFP reports.
The Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party denounced Madrid's plans as the "biggest aggression" against the Catalan people since the Franco dictatorship.
"This aggression will receive a response in the form of massive civil disobedience," said the party, a key regional power broker, in a statement.
The CUP's threat upped the stakes in the standoff over Catalan independence, which has raised fears of unrest in Spain's deepest political crisis in decades.
Half a million angry separatists took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced he would remove Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his executive.
Rajoy said Madrid would take control of ministries under unprecedented measures to stop the region breaking away.
The CUP is a key ally of the ruling separatist coalition in the regional parliament.
It said the details of the protest actions it is planning would be unveiled later this week.
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Reuters: Catalan leader to lose all powers once Senate approves direct rule

Reuters: Catalan leader to lose all powers once Senate approves direct rule

23 October 2017 | 12:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Madrid. Regional leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont will lose all powers and will stop receiving a salary once the Senate approves article 155 which imposes direct central government rule on the region, the Deputy Prime Minister said on Monday, Reuters reported.
A single representative may be temporarily instated by Madrid to govern the region after the Senate approves direct rule, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said in a radio interview. The Senate is expected to approve the measures on Friday.

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Deutsche Welle: Catalan leader calls Spain's move to curb autonomy 'worst attack' since Franco dictatorship

Deutsche Welle: Catalan leader calls Spain's move to curb autonomy 'worst attack' since Franco dictatorship

21 October 2017 | 22:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Barcelona. On Saturday, the Spanish premier announced his government's decision to trigger Article 155, effectively marking an unprecedented move to suspend Catalonia's independence, Deutsche Welle reports.
"It was not our wish or intention. It never was," Mariano Rajoy said. "But no democratic government can allow the law to be violated."
Rajoy said he wanted the Senate to grant him the powers to dissolve Catalonia's government and call for an early election in the region. The Catalonia vote should be held within the next six months in order to "restore democracy," he said.

He also proposed that the central government's ministers take over the powers of regional officials.
In reponse, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont slammed Rajoy in a speech later on Saturday, saying that the region cannot accept the move by Madrid, and said the steps being taken were the "worst attacks" on democracy since the rule of dictator Francisco Franco. He called on the Catalan parliament to meet immediately to decide to debate how best to counter the national government's decision.
Massive protest
The prime minister said he did not seek to dismantle Catalan autonomy, but to remove the people who had brought it "outside of the law."
Following the announcement, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday evening to protest at Rajoy's move.
They also called for the release of two activists, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who are in jail awaiting possible sedition charges.

The Senate has yet to agree to the steps proposed by Rajoy, but the measures are likely to obtain the necessary support. Most of the major parties are firm supporters of independence. The process is expected to be completed within a week.
The left-wing Podemos slammed Rajoy's announcement and vowed to push the prime minister and his Popular Party out of power.
"We are in shock about the suspension of democracy in Catalonia," said Pablo Echenique, of Podemos.
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