Catalan leader faces pressure to abandon secession plan

In the case of independence, Catalonia would be excluded from the european Union

In the case of independence, Catalonia would be excluded from the european Union

In fears of the independence declaration, the High Court of Catalonia asked on Monday for the protection of Spanish police instead of local Catalan police, who acted on the behalf of the Catalan government during the independence vote.

Separatist leaders in Catalonia have declared valid a pro-independence victory in a disputed October 1 referendum that Spain calls illegal. Catalan authorities say nearly 900 people were hurt in the crackdown.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has insisted he will push ahead with a unilerateral declaration of independence and could even declare secession tomorrow at an extraordinary session of the Catalan Parliament.

The Catalan crisis has presented Spain with its biggest political challenge since it became a democracy four decades ago.

In Madrid, protesters wore stickers that read: "Catalonia, we love you". The march was peaceful and no major incidents were reported.

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Other companies considering taking these decisions are sparkling wine companies Codorniu and Freixenet and insurance company Catalana Occidente.

The referendum was won by the "Yes" side, though less than half of the region's electorate voted.

Loiseau also repeated the European commission's warning that an independent Catalonia would find itself outside the European Union and obliged to reapply for membership.

Catalan leaders say they want to remain part of the European Union, but Brussels says that an independent Catalonia would automatically be out and have to reapply to join.

The 1 October independence referendum was, however, marred by riots and clashes between police and voters and declared illegal by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Catalans frequently complain they contribute more in taxes to the Spanish treasury than they get back.

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Caixabank, Spain's number 3 bank, and Banco Sabadell, the number 5, have both moved their head offices out of Catalonia last week following an independence referendum that the Madrid government attempted to block. However, Catalans have always been calling for more say in spending, higher status for their language and recognition that they are a nation distinct from Spain, BBC writes. Turn-out for the referendum was 43 percent.

Other demonstrations - including in the Catalan city Barcelona - have also been held urging political dialogue. Spanish police, ordered to prevent the referendum, clashed with voters and supporters, and Catalan officials said over 900 people were injured. "We are Spanish. We are European". "We are facing a tremendous unknown".

"We will apply what the law says", he said, according to a partial transcript released by TV3. "We have to talk about this", he said.

Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the anti-independence Catalan opposition, had earlier tweeted that demonstrators should refrain from waving fascists flags "in front of the press", but later deleted the tweet.

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