MADRID, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has attacked what he described as a "big lie" of the separatist movement for the region of Catalonia in northeast Spain.
Speaking at an event organized by his Socialist Party (PSOE) late on Wednesday, Sanchez said efforts to force the independence of the Catalan region were "a shipwreck."
"Now after the shipwreck of the independence project, now they feel the pain in their own lines," said Sanchez, adding that the "challenge" was to "rebuild social coexistence" in the region.
He said that the Catalan separatist movement had failed because it was "based on a big lie," that the region "was a uniform homogeneous and not a plural society," and that if his party won the Spanish general elections on Nov. 10 he would work for "the needs of all Catalans."
The Spanish leader's speech came just days before the verdict is expected in the trial of Catalan separatist leaders who were involved in the Oct. 1, 2017, Catalan independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Eighteen people, including Oriol Junqueras, former vice president of the regional government, face a variety of charges, with some (such as Junqueras) facing charges of rebellion and a possible 25 years in prison if found guilty in the trial.
Sanchez admitted that the verdict would "raise the decibels" of the debate in the region and said that his acting government would provide a "proportionate" response to any possible disturbances that could happen after the verdict.
He also said the government was considering "every scenario" that could arise after the verdict and did not rule out temporarily suspending the region's autonomy.