If Catalan declares independence, Spain will strike with an iron fist, Deputy Secretary of Communication Pablo Casado has warned, reminding Catalonia about the fate of its last leader who declared independence 83 years ago.
"Hopefully tomorrow nothing is declared because the one who declares it may end up like Companys," Casado said, referring to Lluys Comanys, the president of Catalonia who declared a republic in 1934, but was later exiled, handed over to Spain by the Nazis and shot in 1940 by the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
The comment, undoubtedly directed at Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, was received with indignation. Pablo Iglesias, leader of the leftist Podemos party, responded saying Casado is either “ignorant” or an “irresponsible provocateur.”
Puigdemont announced plans to proceed with secession from Spain at a meeting of the Catalan parliament Tuesday, in accordance with the over 90 percent of Catalans who voted for independence in an Oct. 1 referendum marred by Spanish police repression.
"Credibility and dignity suggest making the declaration of independence tomorrow," director of the civil group, National Catalonia Assembly Jordi Sanchez, said.
The Popular Unity Candidacy, a pro-independence party, denounced an attack on its headquarters carried out in the early morning after a demonstration held in Barcelona by unionist and fascist forces. The attackers tried to burn the shutter at the entrance of the compound, in addition to filling the lock with silicon and painting words like "Terrorists," and "Scum" on the outside.
Madrid maintains its resolve, warning that the government will not stand for a declaration and will take all necessary measures to prevent it.
"If they declare independence, there will be decisions made to restore law and democracy," warned Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria in an interview, urging Catalan politicians who “still respect democracy and freedom” to abstain from the political session.
“Spain will not be divided and the national unity will be preserved. We will do everything that legislation allows us to ensure this," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told Die Welt, "We will prevent this independence from taking place."
Meanwhile, France has signaled that it will not recognize an independent Catalonia, warning that the move will mean an automatic expulsion from the European Union.
Thousands protested outside municipalities across Spain Saturday against the government’s repressive response. The protesters dressed in white calling for a peaceful dialogue between Catalonia and Madrid, saying Spain is better than its political leaders.
Results from the independence vote show that, despite political repression, including confiscating millions of blank ballots and 100 ballot boxes and police violence against voters, 2.3 million citizens, or 43 percent of the Catalan population, cast their ballots. Of them, 90.18 percent favored a breakaway from Spain.