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King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-05 09:19

King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

A man in Barcelona, Spain, watches Spanish King Felipe VI address the nation on Tuesday. JON NAZCA/REUTERS

MADRID-King Felipe VI of Spain spoke to the nation on Tuesday, two days after the Catalan independence referendum, which was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

The king spoke amid a growing climate of tension with a general strike and protests in the Catalan region in which local police say 300,000 people took to the streets over the actions of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard during Sunday's vote.

"We are living serious moments for our democracy and in these circumstances, I want to speak directly to all of the Spanish people. We have all seen what has happened in Catalonia with the aim of the Generalitat (Catalan parliament) for the illegal proclamation of independence of Catalonia," he said.

Felipe placed blame for the tension in the hands of Catalan regional authorities and said they, "in a repeated, conscious and deliberate manner, have been breaking the Constitution and their autonomous status".

He added that those "irresponsible behaviors" had "put the economic stability of Catalonia and Spain in doubt", and insisted that in such a situation it was "the responsibility of the organ of state to guarantee the stability of the country".

"I want to highlight that we live in a democratic state where anyone can defend their ideas, within their respect for the law. Without that respect there is no living together in peace," King Felipe said.

The king said Catalans not in favor of independence were "not on their own and they will not be; they have the support of all of Spain and... the guarantee of the law to defend their freedom and their rights".

"These are difficult times, but we will get over them and go forward, because we believe in our country and are proud of what we are. Our democratic principles are strong."

Sunday's vote saw police charges against voters. Officials claimed 431 officers had been injured and medical services reported 893 people had needed medical attention.

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