Spain's King condemns Catalan leaders as thousands take to streets

King Felipe VI making a speech at the European Parliament in 2015

King Felipe VI making a speech at the European Parliament in 2015

The Spanish government has declared said referendum illegal and the result inadmissible, but the situation has reached boiling point in the country.

Spain's key IBEX 35 stock index fell by 2.3 per cent tOday on the ongoing turbulence, with some big Catalan banks down more than six percent.

Rajoy says any dialogue can only happen within the limits of the Spanish Constitution, which doesn't allow a region to secede.

On Tuesday tens of thousands of Catalans demonstrated in the streets of the northeastern region against action by the police who tried to disrupt Sunday's vote by firing rubber bullets and charging into crowds with truncheons.

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Catalonia's Democracy Board, a regional body created to defend the rights of citizens, issued a call for businesses to stop their operations at 12.00 local time on Monday in a show of protest against the violence.

In a special national address Tuesday night, Spain's King Felipe VI said Catalan authorities had deliberately bent the law with "irresponsible conduct". Spain could intervene to take over the regional government or it could even declare a state of emergency and impose martial law.

The route to becoming independent won't be easy for Catalonia.

A rich industrial region of 7.5 million people with their own language and cultural traditions, Catalonia accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy. The region doesn't have any power over defence, foreign affairs, taxes, ports or airports, all of which are in the hands of the Madrid government.

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Some are calling for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to leave office, including Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who told CNBC that she wasn't pro-separatist but believed Catalonians should be allowed to vote.

A Spanish judge placed Catalonia's regional police chief under investigation for alleged sedition, a court spokesman said Wednesday, October 4, after the force was accused of failing to rein in pro-independence protesters.

It said the four will be questioned Friday about their roles in demonstrations September 20-21 in Barcelona, when Spanish police arrested several Catalan government officials and raided offices in a crackdown on preparations for the referendum.

Millions of Catalans turned up to vote in the plebiscite, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and violence broke out, with local authorities reporting that almost 900 people had been wounded by riot police wielding batons and rubber bullets in an attempt to break up the voters.

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