BARCELONA (Reuters) – Catalonia should hold a new vote on independence from Spain within two years, the head of the region’s government said on Thursday in a fresh challenge to Madrid following days of unrest by pro-separatist protesters.
Nearly 100 people were injured across the northeastern region on Wednesday in a third day of violence after Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to lengthy jail terms over their failed effort to secure independence in 2017.
Cars - Bins - Catalan - Capital - Barcelona
Cars and rubbish bins were torched in the Catalan capital Barcelona overnight and police said they had arrested 12 people in the city in some of the worst violence seen in Spain in years, which has sent a shockwave through national politics.
The Interior Ministry said it would send in reinforcements with further protests planned for Friday, when unions have called a strike and protesters from around the region are due to converge on Barcelona, one of Europe’s top tourist cities.
Catalan - Parliament - Chief - Quim - Torra
Addressing the Catalan parliament, pro-independence regional chief Quim Torra criticized the rioting, saying the separatist cause was a peaceful movement.
But he also pushed the case for forging ahead with the stalled secessionist drive, saying there was “no way” that any court would prevent him from taking steps towards independence.
Parties - Groups - Term - Independence - Torra
“If all parties and groups make it possible, we have to be able to finish this legislative term by validating independence,” said Torra, adding that Monday’s sentences would not deter separatists from holding a new referendum. “We’ll return to the ballot box again on self-determination,” he said.
Torra called for a constitution to be drawn up for Catalonia in the spring of 2020, which could open the way for a ballot before the regional parliament’s term expires in December 2021.
Spain - Parties - Independence - Referendum - Catalonia
Spain’s main parties have consistently refused to hold an independence referendum in Catalonia, although the ruling Socialists say they are open...
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