Spanish unionists find their voice in huge Barcelona rally

If Catalan authorities decide to declare independence from Spain following the results of the referendum, they will hardly be able to enjoy their status as the tensions with Madrid over violation of the Spanish constitution will rise and there will be no support internationally since other states would not sacrifice their relations with Spain for Catalonia's sake, experts told Sputnik.

On Wednesday, the Spanish government rejected Puigdemont's calls for mediation, and Spain's deputy prime minister said Catalonia would have to end its push for independence before talks can begin.

Thousands of demonstrators rallied across Madrid on Saturday calling for Spanish unity and demanding action to resolve a volatile political crisis over plans by Catalan separatists to declare independence.

"I rule out absolutely nothing that is allowed for under the law", he said in an interview published in El Pais newspaper.

The Spanish official added that the Catalan movement aimed at obtaining more autonomy for the region should be peaceful and be conducted "within the framework of treaties".

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia's capital Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to any declaration of independence from Spain, showing how divided the region is on the issue.

Some European officials are also anxious that any softening in Spain's stance towards Catalan independence could fuel secessionist feelings among other groups in Europe such as Belgium's Flemings and Italy's Lombards.

"This is producing a social rupture in Catalonia and this has to be resolved through dialogue, never via unilateralism", Jose Manuel Garcia, 61, an economist who attended the protest dressed in white said.

The Spanish government stepped up economic pressure on the Catalan government on Friday by passing a law to make it easier for companies to move their operations around the country, potentially dealing a blow to the regions finances.

Spain's Minister of Public Works Inigo de la Serna said on Saturday that "the companies will keep leaving and it's exclusively the fault of the members of the regional government". Hundreds of people were injured last weekend as police sent from Madrid tried to prevent the referendum going ahead. He says he has an opinion about Catalonian independence, but that is not what is called for here.

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Spanish police scuffle with a man outside a polling station for the banned independence referendum in Tarragona, Spain, October 1, 2017.

It is unclear whether he will declare independence.

Catalonia, a region of around 7.5 million people with its own distinct language and culture, has had a complex relationship at times with Madrid.

Thousands have since rallied across Spain, urging officials on both sides to simply engage in dialogue.

Catalan leaders held an independence referendum one week ago in a divisive and controversial poll that Madrid slammed as illegal.

"The government will ensure that any Declaration of independence nor to no avail", said Rajoy did not rule out the possibility of the dissolution of the regional government of Catalonia.

Already battered by a corporate stampede to exit the region, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is seeking to hold the momentum as the clock ticks down to a meeting on Tuesday that could trigger the separation process.

"The ideal situation would be that I don't have to find drastic solutions, but for that to happen there will have to be some rectifications (by Catalan leaders)", Rajoy said.

The constitution establishes "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation, a common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards" whose "national sovereignty resides in the Spanish people".

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