Thousands rally in Barcelona against Catalonia's secession

Posted October 08, 2017

The Catalan government's head of foreign affairs, Raul Romeva, told the BBC that the crisis could only be resolved with politics, not via judicial means.

"I think most Spaniards support the police action but I also think they acted too late". It is not a very proactive government. But already there and hundreds of miles away in Madrid, protesters were pleading for conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to heed calls for peaceful dialogue. "To be honest, he's very bad".

In Cibeles Square, hundreds of others people clapped and waved their hands in the air in a crowd which included many families with young children and babies but no flags.

The protest is being organized by a civil society group that wants "Silent Catalonia" to make itself heard - a reference to what it says is a silent majority that wants to defuse the situation.

"The tension and violence have risen a lot". Each time it gets worse. "It has generated a lot of fear and that's risky".

In an interview with El Pais newspaper, Mr Rajoy also rejected any mediation to resolve the crisis.

"There is a great deal of worry that the government has waited to play its last card too late", said off-duty cavalry colonel Joaquin Penas, 52, a flag on his back reaching almost to his ankles. "They've never wanted to listen to us". Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel, which has several plants in Catalonia, "We continuously monitor local developments in markets where we operate".

Catalonia, a region of around 7.5 million people with its own distinct language and culture, has had a complex relationship at times with Madrid.

Thousands of people were rallying Sunday in downtown Barcelona to protest the Catalan government's push for secession from the rest of Spain.

Protesters dressed in white gathered with signs saying "Spain is better than its leaders" and "Let's talk". "This [the situation in Catalonia] is a battle of Europe", he said.

Banks such as Banco Mediolanum relocated its headquarters to Madrid, Arqui cooperative to Valencia, Caixabank to Valencia and Banc Sabadell took the decision of moving its headquarters to Alicante.

Chairman Juan Jose Brugera led a delegation from Cercle d'Economia, a business forum, that met with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Saturday in Girona to demand he withdraw his threat to declare a Catalan republic, said Jordi Alberich, the group's director general. "I think a couple of years ago there were more people who didn't want it (independence), but after all that has happened, I think there are more people who want it".

Changing where they are legally registered would save Catalan companies from dropping out of the eurozone if the region did break from Spain, allowing them to retain access to European Central Bank financing.

Based on this, the courts and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government have insisted that a decision affecting the unity of Spain can not be taken by just one region, but that all Spaniards need to be consulted.

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

The protest, which organizers said is among the biggest by police in Spanish history, takes place as national police and civic guards face public scrutiny following the crackdown on voters in an illegal October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia.

Some pro-independence Catalans spoke to CNN in Barcelona on Friday about why they favor going it alone.