Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stated regional elections subsequent month in Catalonia will assist finish “separatist havoc” within the north-eastern area.
He addressed a marketing campaign occasion on his first go to there since imposing direct rule on the area a fortnight in the past.
Defending his resolution in Barcelona, he stated he had “exhausted all roads” after the Catalan authorities’s unilateral declaration of independence final month.
A number of key Catalan leaders are at the moment being detained over the transfer.
Some 750,000 folks protested in Barcelona on Saturday in opposition to the arrests, native police estimated.
The disaster was sparked by a disputed referendum held in Catalonia in October, which had been declared unlawful by the Spanish courts.
Catalan officers stated the independence marketing campaign gained 92% of the vote, from a turnout of 43%. A lot of those that had been in opposition to independence didn’t forged votes, refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the referendum.
The Catalan authorities subsequently declared independence. In response, the Spanish authorities dissolved the area’s parliament, imposed direct rule and known as a snap regional election on 21 December.
Talking at a marketing campaign occasion in Barcelona for his In style Get together (PP) on Sunday, Mr Rajoy known as on the participation of the “silent majority” to “convert their voice right into a vote”.
“We should reclaim Catalonia from the havoc of separatism,” he added, saying: “With democracy, we wish to reclaim Catalonia for everybody.”
He informed PP supporters that the proper consequence would increase Spain’s financial progress subsequent 12 months to above three%.
He known as on corporations to not depart the area, after tons of of corporations moved their headquarters away amid uncertainty over the area – which accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economic system. He additionally urged folks in Spain to proceed shopping for Catalan merchandise.
Rajoy’s message to the trustworthy
By James Reynolds in Barcelona
For a short time, the person who finally runs Catalonia was in Catalonia. However Mariano Rajoy’s advisors made positive he wouldn’t run into vocal pro-independence opponents.
As an alternative, he spoke to the celebration trustworthy. Mr Rajoy’s fundamental marketing campaign occasion was held inside a resort ballroom, in entrance of principally older supporters.
Spain’s prime minister got here right here in an effort to win the regional Catalan election he is known as for 21 December. His Folks’s Get together would not command widespread help on this area.
However the pro-Spain motion as an entire makes up about half the inhabitants of Catalonia. An election victory for this sector would make it a lot tougher for pro-independence forces to make one other try to interrupt away from Spain.
After talking for 25 minutes, Mr Rajoy posed for footage and made his manner out of the resort amid a crush of supporters.
“Will you meet your opponents?” I requested him. “Sure,” he stated. However he did not say the place or when.
For the reason that crackdown by Madrid, Catalonia’s sacked President Carles Puigdemont has gone into self-imposed exile in Belgium, and plenty of of his high allies have been remanded in custody.
Hundreds took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday calling on Spain to free the ministers, in addition to two grassroots marketing campaign leaders being detained.
They marched behind a banner declaring “We’re a republic”, and carried placards that stated the detainees had been political prisoners.
The sacked former ministers are accused of alleged riot and sedition, whereas the 2 activists had been arrested over a mass protest earlier than the referendum.
The left-wing ERC celebration, a key ally of Mr Puigdemont, has introduced that among the prisoners, together with celebration chief Oriol Junqueras, in addition to among the sacked ministers who additionally went to Belgium, will stand on its electoral checklist.
Nevertheless, the ERC has rejected a name from Mr Puigdemont to battle the election as a part of a single pro-independence bloc with different events – as they did in 2015.
Mr Rajoy’s PP gained simply eight.5% of the vote within the final regional elections two years in the past.
In one other improvement, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, condemned Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders.
Ms Colau, who was elected in 2015 on an anti-capitalist platform and whose celebration is standing within the regional parliamentary election for the primary time, stated leaders of the independence motion had “tricked the inhabitants for their very own pursuits”.
Nevertheless, her celebration has additionally voted to interrupt a pact with the Socialist celebration in Barcelona in protest at its help for the nationwide authorities’s resolution to invoke Article 155 of the structure, imposing direct rule on Catalonia.