Spain has accused Catalonia of using 'blackmail' in its bid for independence

Lionel Messi

Earlier this week, Spain's King Felipe VI sided with conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government and accused the Catalan authorities of "disloyalty" and being "completely on the margins of law and democracy".

More than 2.2 million Catalonians - 42% of the region's electorate - voted overwhelmingly to separate from Spain on Sunday.

"Political risk is back on the agenda in Europe", NFS Macro analyst Nick Stamenkovic told AFP.

"The king endorses the discourse and policies of the government of Rajoy, which have been catastrophic for Catalonia and deliberately ignore the millions of Catalans who do not think like them", he said. It also pays taxes to Madrid, which has been a main source for contention between the two as Catalonia - a former principality of Spain - has complained their taxes are more than the central funding they receive from the Spanish government each year.

The parties holding the majority of seats in the regional parliament, Junts pel Si and CUP, asked Puigdemont to address lawmakers on Monday.

Puigdemont has yet to declare full independence from Spain.

Lawyers for the regional parliament had also warned that the session would be illegal because it discusses results of a referendum over the weekend that had been previously suspended by the constitutional court. He insisted dialogue was the only way forward: "Spain has the choice to just say no or to sit down and talk".

The fear is now that Madrid will move to suspend Catalonia's autonomy and even send in the army to contain the situation.

Puigdemont said he was not afraid of being arrested for organising Sunday's banned referendum.

Scores were injured on Sunday as police moved in en masse, beating voters and protesters as they lay on the ground and dragging some by the hair.

It is a duty for any government to uphold the rule of law, and this sometimes requires the proportionate use of force.

The Catalan National Assemby, a pro-independence advocacy group, also backed the call, saying it would participate in some of the organized protests "in defense of rights and liberties".

Adding to tensions, the courts on Wednesday placed Catalonia's regional police chief Josep Lluis Trapero and three other suspects under investigation for an alleged "crime of sedition".

Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest regions, accounting for nearly 20% of its economic output, and is home for a large number of multinationals, as well as Seat and Nissan vehicle factories.

The Catalan government is now to decide how and when exactly the declaration of independence could be made.

The results announced by the Catalonian government indicated that 90 percent of voters were in favor of independence, but some have noted that this was virtually impossible to confirm as there was no official registry for voters and the counting was carried out in less-than-ideal circumstances. Now residents are anxious that the escalating conflict between Spanish and Catalan authorities will split the town in two.

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