Rallies in Support of Spanish Unity Continue in Barcelona

Catalonia- French minister calls for stronger EU to stop independence

Spain's government insists the independence drive is illegal and the courts ruled that the referendum breached the constitution.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, however, urged the government to refrain from invoking the never-before-used Article 155, which allows Madrid to take over autonomous regions. The latest crisis has raised fears of unrest in Catalonia, a north-eastern region about the size of Belgium that is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy.

But the result was not as decisive as it appeared - turnout was only 43%. Puigdemont has said that Catalonia has won its right to independence, and the declaration could come on Tuesday parliamentary session.

The Prime Minister also said he planned to keep extra police deployed to Catalonia before the referendum until the crisis was over.

The address could be the moment when Catalonia's leader declares that the region will break away.

So what happens if Catalonia's government declares independence anyway, possibly as early as Tuesday - or what if it doesn't?

Scottish and Catalan separatists have long supported each other's causes, with a number of Catalan people travelling to Scotland to support the "yes" campaign in the referendum of 2014.

He also said that the Catalan movement aimed at obtaining more autonomy for the region should be peaceful and be conducted "within the framework of treaties".

Catalonian Government claims victory in referendum
Spain's government vowed to stop the vote going ahead and threatened to suspend any public official who helped organise it. Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy and the European Commission have declared the election illegal.

Thomas says that the "powerful" show of support for unity means that a declaration of independence may not be well received.

The Catalan government says more than 90% of people who voted in an October 1 referendum voted in favour of independence from Spain.

"We have to calculate very well what the reaction in Madrid will be when in the Parliament of Catalonia, independence will be declared", Mr Mas told the ABC.

He said: "Spain is not going to divide and national unity will be maintained". Police cracked down on the vote, firing rubber bullets and storming crowds to disrupt the voting, leading to hundreds of injuries.

Losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, is nearly unthinkable for Madrid. There is no certain confirmation of this move, however, with Catalan lawmakers unofficially saying that they will stop short of the independence declaration, opting for more of a "symbolic statement".

Her colleague Joanna Cherry MP said: "What I saw was repression on a scale I never expected to see in a Western European democracy".

Catalans speak up against a split: Social media was once again full of images of protests in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, but this time from those who don't want to see a breakaway region.

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