Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Spain in pro-unity rallies, as political tensions rise over calls for Catalonian independence. Jacob Greaves reports.
Tens of thousands of protesters out on the streets of Spain- calling for unity. In Madrid a sea of Spanish flags underpin a bid to ease tensions. But scenes such as this are still fresh in many people's minds. Last weekend Catalonia held an independence referendum ruled illegal by Spanish authorities. Clashes erupted as national police tried to stop people voting. Catalan health authorities put the number of injured at around 900. In the regional capital Barcelona on Saturday (October 7) people came out dressed in white to call for calm. The main message has been to urge further dialogue between Madrid and separatists. But a dose of brinkmanship might be what they get. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he won't negotiate unless the push for independence is scrapped. Meanwhile Catalonia's secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont has announced he will make an address to Catalonia's regional parliament on Tuesday (October 10). Puigdemont's had planned to declare independence as early as Monday (October 9) before Spain's constitutional court blocked that sitting of parliament. Much will rest on what he says Tuesday. Spain has made a conciliatory gesture of sorts- apologizing for the violent referendum crackdown But in the same authorities blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote. The crisis could also impact the health of the Spain's purse strings. The wealthy northwestern region of Catalonia has already seen an exodus of some key companies. On Friday Caixabank become the latest to up sticks to other parts of Spain And the ramifications for the eurozone's fourth largest economy is worrying EU leaders in Brussels. An EU official told Reuters that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had discussed it with the head of the European commission. Unity might be what these people are calling for, but they risk being drowned out by increasingly hostile political rhetoric.