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Catalonia: Decision expected on independence from Spain
11 October 2017, 12:21 | Rufus Hill
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Pablo Insa Iglesias and Elisabeth Besó sit on opposite sides of the argument
About 10 companies have made a decision to relocate their legal headquarters from Catalonia to other places in Spain over fears of an unilateral declaration of independence, local media reported on Saturday.
Ada Colau said the results of the vote "can't be a guarantee to proclaim independence but are the opportunity to build dialogue and worldwide mediation".
The stakes are high for Spain as it faces its biggest political crisis since it became a democracy four decades ago.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, however, urged the government to refrain from invoking the never-before-used Article 155, which allows Madrid to take over autonomous regions.
European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, asked about the economic impact of the Catalan debate, said the Spanish constitutional order must be respected.
Abertis and Cellnex said they were pulling out for as long as there is uncertainty about the region's future.
Banks such as Banco Mediolanum relocated its headquarters to Madrid, Arqui cooperative to Valencia, Caixabank to Valencia and Banc Sabadell took the decision of moving its headquarters to Alicante.
Spain's deputy prime minister earlier warned of a tough response if Catalonia's political leader, Carlos Puigdemont, decides to announce a split from Spain.
Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont is due to address the regional parliament on Tuesday, and Spain's government is anxious the legislature will vote for a unilateral declaration of independence.
"It won't go unanswered", she said but did not specify whether the government would move to take control of Catalonia by invoking article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which has never been used.
Around 900 people were reportedly hurt when officers seized ballot boxes, fired rubber bullets and forcibly dragged people out of polling stations.
"Many people stayed home and didn't vote (Sunday) so the whole question of the mandate that he would have in speaking before that Parliament and declaring independence would be challenged".
Organisers claimed a million people joined the march.
That raises the prospect of Spanish police arresting Puigdemont and other separatist leaders if they declare independence.
"We will apply what the law says", he told TV3.
Yet politicians supporting Puigdemont's minority government and civil society groups backing independence say they will not accept anything less than a full declaration of independence.
Spain's ruling Partido Popular party has issued its most severe warnings to date to Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont over the consequences of tomorrow's widely predicted declaration of independence, with a PP spokesman saying he could end up like the historic Catalan leader Lluís Companys - in jail.
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