Catalan leader faces pressure to abandon secession plan

Thousands protest in Barcelona against Catalan secession

As NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, the people in the region are almost evenly divided over the issue of independence even though many who are in favor of staying with Spain may not have voted in the referendum.

"This situation can not be solved by violence, we have to find a solution through dialogue, this is also true when you consider the economic oint of view", he said.

Spain's Minister of Public Works, Inigo de la Serna, said in an interview in a local radio station that these moves are just "a first step of what could repeatedly happen" if there is a unilateral declaration of independence.

As many in Spain await what would be a major escalation in the constitutional crisis, more firms have said they are pulling out of the region.

Secession-minded authorities in Catalonia have vowed to break away from Spain after claiming a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum earlier this month.

That shocked even many Catalans who were opposed to independence and sparked angry demonstrations against the police.

The Catalan High Court has asked for Spanish national police to provide extra security at the court building in case the Catalan parliament goes ahead with the independence decision. "So we have to raise our voices and say loud and clear that we do not want independence".

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Spain also sought to reassure worldwide investors concerned about the political situation in the country.

Others called for dialogue.

The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, is due to bring the results of the referendum before the regional parliament on Tuesday.

The ideal would be not to have to take drastic measures. But it also found further backing on Monday when the opposition leader Pedro Sánchez, head of the Socialist party, finally confirmed that his party would "stand by the [Spanish] state" if a declaration of independence materialised.

Spanish police violently cracked down on the referendum, using batons, shields and rubber bullets against peaceful voters and protesters. "It is up to the government to make decisions, and to do so at the right moment", Rajoy said.

With its own language and cultural traditions, demands for independence in Catalonia date back centuries but have surged during recent years of economic hardship. The latest crisis has raised fears of unrest in Catalonia, a north-eastern region about the size of Belgium that is home to 7.5 million people and accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy. "What they are doing is destroying it". However, there is a belief that breaking away is a long shot.

Turnout was 43 percent as Catalans who reject independence largely boycotted the poll.

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