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Spanish PM rejects any mediation to resolve Catalonia crisis

Spanish PM rejects any mediation to resolve Catalonia crisis

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered a suspension of Catalonia's parliamentary session next week during which the region has said it might declare independence and further fuel Spain's worst crisis in decades.

On Tuesday King Felipe addressed the nation in a televised speech but failed to acknowledge the violence perpetrated against Catalan voters, and said nothing of the need for mediation to resolve the crisis.

Rajoy's comments came as thousands of people throughout Spain held rallies Saturday calling for dialogue over the independence push.

"The government will resist the situation, when any declaration of [Catalonia's] independence would have any results", Rajoy said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Saturday. But on Sunday, a sea of Spanish flags, interspersed with some Catalan and European Union flags, dominated Barcelona's boulevards.

In a defiant challenge to plans by Catalonia's regional government to unilaterally declare independence, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Barcelona in a surprising outpouring of Spanish unity. "Because (Catalonia) is going to lose more than (Spain) because businesses are fleeing from here already", said protester Juliana Prats, a Barcelona resident.

The last Catalan government poll on the topic showed 41.1 percent were in favour of independence while 49.4 percent were against.

According to the prime minister, "European values are at stake right now".

Even though 2.2 million Catalan voted - with 90 percent backing independence- the referendum polled less than half of the region's electorate.

Madrid and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were widely criticised after police used force to try and shut down the vote, firing rubber bullets at protesters and pulling voters out of polling stations.

"I live in Catalonia, I speak Catalan, and I am Spanish", she said.

Bartomeu explains. It is now pursing a strategy that says, either Catalonia gives in completely or it unilaterally declares independence.

Until now, Rajoy has avoided saying whether or not he would use article 155 - the so-called nuclear option - of the constitution that allows him to sack the regional government and call a fresh local election.

Catalan secessionists are working towards a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain that could be adopted next week in defiance of a court order and increased economic pressure from Madrid.

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.

Yesterday tens of thousands of demonstrators, many dressed in white, hit the streets of Madrid and other cities across Spain to demand dialogue to end the dispute.

"I can do nothing but regret it, apologise on behalf of the officers who intervened", said the government's representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo.

"We like how things have been up until now and want to go on like this".

Rajoy also said he planned to leave in Catalonia the extra 4,000 police officers the government had shipped in to region for an independence vote on October 1 until the crisis was over.