King of Spain issues stern message over Catalan crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-04 04:26:18|Editor: Liu
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MADRID, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- 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 "massive" protests in the Catalan region in which local police say 300,000 people took to the streets to against the actions of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guards 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," began the King.

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

"With their decisions," he continued, "they have repeatedly broken the law systematically showing an inadmissible disloyalty to the powers of the state."

He added that the "irresponsible behaviors" of the Catalan authorities 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 in the stability of the country."

"I want to highlight (to all of the citizens of Catalonia) 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," continued King Felipe.

The King sent a message of support for Catalans who were not in favor of independence saying they were "not on their own and they will not be; they have the support of all of Spain and the solidarity of the rest of the Spaniards 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," he concluded.

Sunday's vote saw scenes of violence with police charges against voters, with the Spanish Interior Minister claiming 431 law enforcement officers had been injured and Catalan medical services reporting 893 people had needed medical attention after baton charges and the region was paralyzed by a strike on Tuesday in protest at the police actions.