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Catalan leader urges Spain to immediately start negotiations amid ongoing protests

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Europe | October 19, 2019 9:41:35 PM IST
Madrid [Spain], Oct 19 (Sputnik/ANI): Catalan President Quim Torra on Saturday urged the Spanish authorities to immediately engage in negotiations amid ongoing violent protests across the autonomous region of Catalonia.

"We insist that caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez today names the day and time for negotiations. It is his responsibility. It is extremely urgent - as never before," the Catalan government said in a statement following talks between Torra and the mayors of Tarragona, Lleida and Girona, all supporters of the Catalan independence.

The mayor of Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, did not come to the meeting.

Torra reiterated that the independence movement must be "peaceful" but that the Catalan authorities "would go as far as the people of Catalonia want."

In the meantime, the acting Spanish minister of interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has arrived in Barcelona and held consultations with Catalan Interior Minister Miquel Buch.

Since Monday Catalonia has been marred in public unrest. Mass demonstrations have been brought about by the ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court to sentence nine Catalan politicians, involved in organizing the 2017 independence referendum, to 9-13 years in prison on sedition charges and other three to fines over disobedience.

On Friday, what started as a general strike in Barcelona soon grew into public unrest and violent riots. Protesters were blocking roads by barricades, setting these barricades on fire, ripping off the street signs, breaking the windows of nearby stores and eventually clashed with law enforcement near the National Police building. They threw bricks, bottles, crackers and other objects onto the police and burned carton boxes. Police had to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to constrain them, as well as use water cannons to fight the fire.

At least 182 people sustained injuries during the riots. Catalan law enforcement detained more than 50 people. (Sputnik/ANI)

 
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