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Catalonia could declare independence next week, indicates leader

Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont indicated that the region could declare independence next week, as he criticised a speech by Spain’s King Felipe VI.

Mr Puigdemont told the BBC on Tuesday that his government would declare independence "at the end of this week or the beginning of next" after a referendum marred by police brutality led to 90% of voters backing a separate Catalan state.

The Catalan leader also criticised a speech by the Spanish king who stated the referendum was illegal and undemocratic. He stated the king had for "deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans" and “endorses the discourse and policies of the government of [prime minister Mariano] Rajoy, which have been catastrophic for Catalonia”.

“Your decision yesterday disappointed many people in Catalonia,” he added, addressing the king directly.

Meanwhile the mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau called on the European Union to help mediate the crisis. “The European Union came about as a project to safeguard and guarantee our rights and freedoms,” she said. “Defending the fundamental rights of Catalan citizens against a wave of repression from the Spanish state is also the same as defending the rights of Spanish and European citizens.”