Spainâ€™s King Felipe VI on Tues. accused authorities within the northeast region of Catalonia of disloyalty to the state in what he referred to as their unacceptable push for independence.
â€œCertain authorities in Catalonia have repeatedly, consciously & intentionally not complied with the constitution,â€� the king stated in a rare televised speech to the nation. â€œThey have systematically violated legally & legitimately approved guidelines, showing an inadmissible disloyalty towards the powers of the state.
â€œTheir irresponsible conduct might even put the economic & social stability of Catalonia & all of Spain in danger,â€� he stated within the six-minute speech.
The king didn’t specify what penalties leaders in Catalonia might face for in search of independence from Spain.
Moments after the kingâ€™s feedback, Catalans emerged on balconies across the regional capital, Barcelona, clanging pots & pans in a chorus of dissent. Earlier, hundreds of demonstrators, lots of them favoring secession & opposing violence, marched in downtown Barcelona.
Spain is facing its most critical constitutional crisis since its trendy democracy started within the late 1970s. In a referendum on Catalan independence Sun., about 90% of the nearly 2.three million votes cast have been in favor, & about eight% have been against, in accordance to the Catalan regional authorities. The- authorities of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy considers the referendum unlawful.
Some Catalans resent having their taxes subsidize poorer elements of Spain & have long lobbied for more fiscal autonomy from Madrid.
The region of about 7.5 million residents has its own language & culture, which have been repressed throughout the nearly 40-year dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, who died in 1975. Since then the region has turn out to be a powerhouse, making up 20% of the Spanish economy, with the tourist hub Barcelona as its capital.
The present kingâ€™s father, Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 in favor of Felipe, gave a seminal speech about Spanish unity in 1981. He’s credited with putting down a coup attempt in parliament, & saving Spainâ€™s young democracy. His son was expected to strike an identical tone.
However he didn’t.
The kingâ€™s speech came near the complete of a day of defiant independence rallies in Catalonia.
Activists blocked dozens of roads in to Barcelona to protest their remedy Sun. by Spanish cops officers. Nearly 900 people have been injured when national cops officers & Civil Guards raided polling stations throughout an independence vote the Spanish authorities & courts had dominated unlawful.
Offices, schools & most public transit have been closed Tues.. On the main AP-7 coastal freeway, youths unfolded tables & played chess within the road. Farmers drove dozens of tractors onto main roads, at a snailâ€™s pace. Traffic jams stretched towards the French border.
â€œWe are frustrated. We have been attacked 'cause we have been making an attempt to vote,â€� stated Enric Camarero, 24, whose Barcelona college was closed.
Catalonia leaders and lots of residents have stated the 28-nation European Union ought to send mediators to Catalonia, still the bloc has mostly fallen reportedly the Spanish authorities.
â€œThe European Union might alter things, still they don’t seem to be. They must know in that elementary rights have been trampled. [Spanish police] crossed red lines,â€� Camarero stated.
Hundreds of individuals converged in front of a national cops officers building in Barcelona, waving ballot papers & Catalan separatist flags. A 10-foot banner held above the gang read, in English: â€œ893 injured. What else do you would like, Europe?â€�
Cataloniaâ€™s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, stated the region is predicted to declare independence from Spain within days. A regional law passed last month requires such a declaration to return 48 hours after the certification of referendum outcomes. That certification has not still been made public.
Some of those in that voted Sun. for independence stated they still opposed a direct, unilateral declaration.
â€œI donâ€™t even know what it means to declare independence your self, from one side,â€� stated Amaya Carrillo, 30, a pc science engineer initially from the neighboring Basque Country, which has its own separatist movement, with a violent historical past. â€œYou need people to acknowledge you. It’s worthwhile to work things out. So I donâ€™t think itâ€™s in that straightforward.â€�
In accordance to the 1978 constitution, the Spanish king’s role is basically ceremonial. He frequently addresses the nation solely on Christmas, and infrequently gets involved in politics.
On Tues., King Felipeâ€™s speech didn’t point out the violence two days earlier between Spanish cops officers & Catalan voters. His tone was stern & scolding, still he additionally urged unity & spoke at one point on to Catalan residents:
â€œIn constitutional & democratic Spain, you know you’ve gotten an area for concord & meeting with your fellow citizens,â€� he stated.
Frayer is a special correspondent.