'What the law says': Catalonia will follow through with independence declaration - leader

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Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has denied requests for mediation, vowing to block independence, which could signal more ruptures to come in the European Union.

"This risks escalating further if the Catalan government declares independence and the Spanish authorities respond with more police force", Gray argued.

When asked if he would invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which would allow the Madrid Government to step in and take control of Catalonia, he replied, "I am ruling out absolutely nothing when it comes to the law". Ideally, it shouldn't be necessary to implement extreme solutions but for that not to happen things would have to be changed'.

Thousands rallied in Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday in a last-ditch call for Spanish and Catalan leaders to stave off a national crisis amid Catalonia's threat to secede. Madrid says secession is illegal under the country's 1978 constitution. However, Catalonian residents who opposed secession largely boycotted the vote.

The crisis is a political test for Rajoy, who has been uncompromising. Close to 900 people were injured as police tried to disperse voters.

'I hope that Catalonia that makes pacts, is moderate and for many years contributed to Spain's economic growth and improvement in welfare and wealth returns.

In peaceful protests called across 50 Spanish cities on Saturday morning, thousands gathered dressed in white and carrying banners calling for peace and dialogue between leaders.

In a sea of red-and-yellow Spanish and Catalan flags, protesters sent a clear message, shouting: "Catalonia is Spain". "We will apply what the law says", Puigdemont says in the program on Catalonia's TV3, according to excerpts on the broadcaster's website. I'm very anxious. This will end badly and everyone will lose'.

Nirmala Sitharaman teaches Chinese soldiers meaning of 'Namaste' at Nathu La
And after that, it was " namaste " all the way as the PLA officers smartly folded their palms and blurted " namaste ". After a couple of failed attempts, the Chinese officer nearly hits it right, saying: Nice to meet you.

Carles Puigdemont, who succeeded Mr Mas as President, told the BBC on Tuesday his Government would declare independence from Spain by the beginning of next week.

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 rallies followed days of soaring tensions after police cracked down on voters during a banned October 1 Catalan independence referendum, prompting regional leaders to warn they would declare unilaterally declare independence in days. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. "My family lives in Catalonia".

The calls for dialogue and unity come after a traumatic week, with riot police storming several polling stations in an unsuccessful attempt to impede the referendum.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais published Sunday, Rajoy said "Spain is not going to be divided and the nation's unity will be maintained".

The stakes are high for the eurozones fourth-largest economy.

To avoid a rupture, the Scottish government said that in the event of a "yes" vote, it would start pre-independence talks with the European Union "to settle the terms of an independent Scotland's continuing membership".

The Catalan problem affects the interests of the whole of Europe.

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