Spain’s constitutional crisis deepened Wednesday after the nation’s king lashed out at Catalan’s secessionist leaders in a TV address and the region’s President vowed to declare independence within days.
The King said Catalan’s leaders had acted “outside the law”, and demanded they respect the country’s constitution. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will give a televised address to Catalans on Wednesday evening, a regional government spokesman said. Both sides appeared set on a collision course after Sunday’s banned independence vote went ahead in the face of a violent police crackdown.
The sight of Spanish forces seizing Catalan institutions would further polarize opinion in the region, reeling from Sunday’s crackdown. Barcelona’s city police said 700,000 people took part in a day of protest against the police violence Tuesday. Spain’s Foreign Minister denied that security forces used excessive force on Sunday. “If there was any use of force by police in any way it was because they were prevented from doing what they were asked to do,”
In his TV address, King Felipe called the situation “extremely serious” and said the pro-independence camp had demonstrated “an unacceptable disloyalty towards the powers of the state — a state that represents Catalan interests.” The “irresponsible attitude” of the regional government has “put the economic and social stability of Catalonia and Spain at risk,” he said.