Hundreds gather in central Barcelona ahead of pro-Spain rally

Puigdemont risks economic damage and being cast adrift by Europe if he pushes ahead with his secession plans based on a referendum that breached Spain’s constitution.

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The police violence drew widespread condemnation and forced the government to issue an apology on Friday, although tensions continued to rise after reports that plans for a unilateral declaration of independence will be handed to the Catalan parliament on Tuesday.

His counterpart in Osona said that he chose to stop voting early just to make sure the police didn’t get there in time.

Those numbers resemble the pro-independence rallies that Barcelona has seen in recent years.

While the European Union has called for dialogue, it has ruled out taking any mediation role itself.

In Madrid, Spain’s National Court unconditionally released two senior officers of Catalonia’s regional police force and the leaders of two pro-independence civic groups being investigated for sedition in connection with the referendum.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Sunday he would not rule out suspending Catalonia’s autonomous status in the event it claimed independence, marking the premier’s first remarks since last week’s controversial referendum. In the El Pais interview, Rajoy said “some mistakes were made”, but blamed Catalan authorities for putting “national sovereignty” in danger.

He added: “I want to say something with absolute clarity – while the threat of independence is in the political landscape, it will be very hard for the government to not take these decisions”. Companies such as Caixabank, Spain’s third-largest bank by global assets, Banco Sabadell, Spain’s fifth-largest bank, Gas Natural energy giant, textiles maker Dogi, reprographics company Service Point Solutions, telecommunications provider Eurona and biotech firm Oryzon Genomics have already switched their headquarters. Other companies are also considering such a move to ensure that the possible secession of the region wouldn’t immediately knock them out of the European Union and its lucrative common market.

“I hope that nothing will happen”. Buras said that she has family in Catalonia.

Most euro zone 10-year yields closed flat or slightly higher on the day, including Spain’s which had earlier been as much as 7 bps higher.

Catalan nationalists argue the region is a separate nation with its own history, culture and language, and that it should have increased fiscal independence. An AP reporter spoke with another man who had come from the northern Basque Country region.

Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and former president of the European Parliament Josep Borrell are expected to address Sunday’s rally. Catalans also complain they contribute more in taxes to the Spanish coffer than they get back.

“And that’s why Europeans have stuck up for us and all the governments have supported the Spanish constitution and the upholding of the law”.

Borrell added that: “Catalonia is not a state like Kosovo where rights were systematically violated”. The “Yes” side won with 90 percent with less than half the electorate polled.

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Other politicians called on the European Union, now facing a huge challenge to its unity in Britain’s impending exit from the bloc, to intervene in a deepening crisis that has shaken the euro and Spanish stocks and bonds.

People on a rooftop wave Spanish flags during a march in downtown Barcelona Spain to protest the Catalan government's