Catalonia’s agitating leadership said nothing would stop them setting up an independent republic, dismissing the criticism of Spanish King Felipe VI as the breakaway region’s president prepared to deliver his own address last night.
Regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said the monarch’s criticism of Sunday’s illegal referendum, with no reference to the police violence that saw more than 800 people injured, had given a “free bar” to state forces as they try to shut down the secessionists.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has said he expects to declare independence within days.
The king’s reaction was “a mistake from every point of view,” Turull said in an interview on the regional government’s TV channel.
He said Catalonia does not answer to the kingship.
“It is only republic or a republic,” he said.
The clash between Madrid and the rebel administration in Barcelona is escalating again after the king, whose word traditionally carries weight in Spain, sought to impose his authority in a televised statement on Tuesday night.
Carles Puigdemont criticize the “unacceptable disloyalty” of the Catalan leaders and promise to keep Spain together.
The parties holding the majority of seats in the regional parliament, Junts pel Si and the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, have asked Puigdemont to address lawmakers on Monday, a spokesman for the assembly said.
Spain faces its greatest constitutional crisis since the demise of ex-Spanish prime minister Francisco Franco in 1975. The country was then rocked by an intended coup in 1981 that was prevented by Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos.
The threat of secession by Catalonia, which accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s entire economic output, is also piling political pressure on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his minority government.