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Spanish PM warns Catalan protesters against violating laws

Sanchez spoke on Friday in connection with the violent protests taking place in the Catalan region of Spain over the past four days.

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Madrid (Spain) Published on: October 19, 2019 8:32 IST
Spanish PM warns Catalan protesters against violating laws
Image Source : AP

Spanish PM warns Catalan protesters against violating laws

Acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government was working to ensure that laws were "upheld inside and outside" Spain's borders.

Sanchez spoke on Friday in connection with the violent protests taking place in the Catalan region of Spain over the past four days.

"The law is clear and those who commit an illegal act have to answer for it," commented Sanchez on the day that saw former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont turn himself in to the Belgian authorities after Spain reissued an international arrest warrant for him for his role in the 2017 referendum and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence in the Catalan region.

The past four days have now seen over 100 people arrested and over 200 police officers injured in clashes in Barcelona between security forces and small but well-organized and violent groups of demonstrators.

Sanchez insisted that his acting government will not tolerate violence, saying that "there will be no room for impunity in the face of the violence we have seen in Catalonia."

"The right to protest should be exercised in an absolutely peaceful manner," he said, adding that "proportionality" in the government's response was "a symptom of strength."

"It is important to vindicate a proportional response, the law means we could apply extraordinary measures, but it is important to have social legitimacy and reflecting on our actions will help calm things down and redirect the situation," commented Sanchez.

Sanchez spoke to the press in Brussels on the same day that a general strike was held in Catalonia to protest against the prison sentences given to 13 Catalan political and social leaders on Monday for their roles in the independence referendum held in the region in 2017, which was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

The strike has so far caused 57 flights to be cancelled from Barcelona's El Prat airport, and cruise ships had to be turned away from the Port of Barcelona, which was closed due to the strike along with the port of nearby Tarragona.

Roads have been blocked and rail services have also been affected by the strike, with the majority of shops and public buildings also closed.

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