"We want to remain in Spain" say unity protesters

The standoff between Madrid and Barcelona has plunged Spain into its most serious political crisis in four decades, since the country transitioned to democracy. Spanish energy minister Alvaro Nadal said the push to break away is doing more damage to the Catalan economy than August's terrorist attacks as companies decamp.

"That being said, there is still talk of the region declaring independence this week". "We have perhaps been silent too long", Alejandro Marcos, 44, told AFP.

"Why don't they invite Celtic or Rangers to the Premier League who are already part of Great Britain, that would have more sense than inviting Barcelona", he said.

On Saturday, thousands of people calling for Spanish unity attended rallies in the capital Madrid.

After an illegal referendum over independence was held last Sunday, several companies made a decision to move their headquarters away from this Spanish northeastern region.

"The unity of Spain can not be voted or agreed upon - it must be protected", said one of the organizers.

Others called for dialogue.

But the organizers of the rally, the group Societat Civil Catalana, said that on the streets about 1 million of the Catalans.

The demonstrations were in response to last Sunday's disputed referendum on Catalan independence.

Despite some secessionists' attempts to label Sunday's march as a right-wing, authoritarian event, several people insisted that the pro-independence camp did not have a monopoly on progressive opinion. He did not rule out moving to stop that by suspending Catalonia's regional autonomy - a move that could risk sparking unrest.

In an interview with El Pais newspaper, Rajoy also rejected any mediation to resolve the crisis, BBC reported on Sunday.

That allows for quite a broad spread of measures; the government could simply impose control over some aspects of the Catalan region, such as its police force, or it could take sweeping actions; firing and appointing ministers for the regional government, for example. The statement says a declaration of independence, even if illegal under Spanish laws, could trigger the suspension of the judiciary and ouster of its president.

Catalonia's future looked uncertain Monday, on the eve of a key parliamentary speech by secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont, in which it was unclear whether he would stick with plans to declare independence from Spain.

Initially it was thought separatist leaders could move to declare independence as early as Monday night, but the address has been pushed back a day.

PLAID Cymru's Gwynedd Council leader has condemned the violence by the "oppressive" Spanish government police against the people of Catalonia.

Spanish shares outperformed the broader market and Spain's government bond yields fell as tensions between Spain and its wealthy region of Catalonia appeared to ease. During the October 1 referendum and resulting police crackdown, polling station volunteers communicated through clandestine data networks created by routing smartphones through VPNs to operate without access to the open internet.

"What causes uncertainty is the incapability of the political central state - or the Spanish state - to provide a political solution", he said.

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