Catalonians Rally in Barcelona to Protest Push for Secession From Spain

Catalonia- French minister calls for stronger EU to stop independence

Catalonia- French minister calls for stronger EU to stop independence

Spain's government insists the independence drive is illegal and the courts ruled that the referendum breached the constitution.

Mr Casado was later careful to point out that his comparisons with Mr Companys had referred to the Catalan's 1934 trial and incarceration after the independence bid, not to his subsequent capture, torture and execution by General Franco's police in 1940. This "legal position" establishes the principle according to which a State born out of secession within the EU would not automatically be considered as part of the Union.

"In my opinion it is more important to reach a real independent country than to declare independence", he said.

"Anybody that declares it could end up like the one who tried it 83 years ago", the PP's deputy secretary for communication, Pablo Casado, said on Monday, in a reference to Lluis Companys' failed bid for independence and subsequent spell in prison in 1934.

"If there were a declaration of independence it would be unilateral and it wouldn't be recognised", France's minister for European affairs Nathalie Loiseau said.

Spain's constitutional crisis deepened, with no signs that either side is ready to return to the negotiating table.

In Madrid, a small group of protesters rallying under the slogan "for the unity of Spain" appeared to be flashing fascist salutes in a procession led by a group aligning themselves with far-right party Falange Española‏ de las Jons, which held power during the Francoist dictatorship period of the country. It is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for about a fifth of Spain's economy.

Third downs doom Gators in LSU loss
NOTES: Florida K Eddy Pineiro's 25-yard field goal accounted for the Gators' only points of the first half. The contest was originally supposed to be in Gainesville but was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew.

The Catalan government had previously said it would declare independence within 48 hours of a yes vote in the referendum.

Catalonia's Parliament had been due to meet on Monday with the expectation that it would endorse the declaration of independence.

A Catalan Parliament spokesperson told CNN that a new session had been called for Tuesday at 6 p.m. (12:00 p.m. ET), in which Puigdemont is expected to update members on the "current political situation".

Rajoy assured Catalan leaders that there "is still time" to backtrack and avoid triggering a tough response from the central government in Madrid.

More than 500 people gathered on Sunday at midday, on the Esplanade du Parlement Européen in Brussels, in support of the anti-independence demonstrations in Barcelona.

The Catalan authorities say more than 90 percent of those who voted backed secession, but opinion polls on the issue suggest the region is more closely divided.

Catalan leaders came under intense domestic and global pressure on Monday to halt plans to break away from Spain after the region's president repeated his threat to declare independence and the government warned it would act to block it. "We will see what happens this week but we have to speak out very loudly so they know what we want".

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