Catalan President Carles Puigdemont prefers a mediated solution with Madrid, nothing acceptable offered so far, nothing likely satisfying both sides.
Catalan pro-independence MP Mireia expects separation from Spain to be announced following a Monday parliamentary session, tweeting:
“We know that there may be disbarments, arrests…But we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped.”
Puigdemont said he’s “sure that in the next few days we will show the best of our country when the institutions of Catalonia will have to apply the results of the referendum. Today we are closer than yesterday to our historic wish.”
PM Mariano Rajoy said “(i)f Mr. Puigdemont wants to talk or negotiate, or wants to send mediators, he knows perfectly well what he must do first: Return to the path of the law” – meaning abandon independence efforts, international law affirming Catalonia’s right of self-determination.
After Sunday’s referendum, Rajoy ordered troops deployed to the outskirts of Catalonia. It’s unclear how many were sent or armaments they’re bringing.
Their presence along with thousands of national police and civil guards ups the stakes for violent clashes and arrests.
Catalans and pro-independence MPs want all Madrid forces removed from the region, considered unacceptable “occupying forces,” more coming instead.
Spanish-language El Confidencial reported the deployment, translated into English, saying Madrid “ordered the sending of the Army to Catalonia with material and to provide logistical support to the Civil Guard and the National Police.”
“Although they are routine maneuvers, the fact is that these occur after the events experienced during the last 72 hours in this autonomous community. Several convoys left this past morning from Zaragoza to reinforce the State Security Forces.”
“Among the displaced Army units is the Logistic Support Group 41 (AALOG 41), based at the San Jorge Base in the Aragonese (Zaragoza) capital” – about 300 km west of Barcelona.
Units were alerted a week ago to prepare for deployment, “a protocol that forced its components to be locatable in order to be activated in a short space of time. (T)he transfer took place (on) Tuesday” – the troops positioned a few km from Barcelona.
Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said security forces will remain in Catalonia despite Puigdemont’s demand for their removal.
Thousands of state security forces are deployed on three ships, positioned, along with military forces, to challenge Catalan independence if declared, likely coming Monday.
As things now stand, confrontation appears likely, perhaps more violent than last Sunday.
On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of independence supporters took to Barcelona’s streets.
With Catalan parliamentarians set to meet on Monday, likely to declare independence from Spain, large crowds will likely mass again on the city’s streets.
If national police, civil guards and military forces challenge them, along with arresting Puigdemont and pro-independence MPs, things could get very ugly.