Puigdemont urges 'democratic opposition' to Spain

28/10/2017 - 18:19 Published in News/General

Catalonia's deposed president has called on Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain's imminent takeover of the semi-autonomous region.

In a speech on Saturday from his home city of Girona, Carles Puigdemont said he would continue to work on what he called "a free country".

"The best way to defend what we have conquered so far is to have a democratic opposition to Article 155," he said, referring to a law that allows the government in Madrid to impose direct rule on the region.

Puidgemont's address came a day after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Catalonia's regional government, including Puidgemont, and set a snap election for December.

The measures were taken in response to the Catalan parliament's voting in favour of splitting from Madrid and establishing an independent republic.

Leaders from Europe and elsewhere have largely rallied behind Spain's central government. 

In a brief televised statement, Puidgemont accused Madrid of "premeditated aggression" and said Catalonia will perservere "without violence, without insults, in an inclusive way".

The standoff began when Catalans voted to secede from Spain in an October 1 referendum that was declared illegal by Spanish authorities.

The events in Barcelona and Madrid marks a major development in the country's worst political crisis in decade. 

Spain's prosecutor's office said it will file rebellion charges against Puidgemont, an offence that under Spanish law carries up to 30 years in prison.