Catalonia's top judicial official has ordered additional Spanish police protection for the headquarters of the regional judiciary before the regional government's possible declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday. "So we have to raise our voices and say loud and clear that we do not want independence". This "legal position" establishes the principle according to which a State born out of secession within the EU would not automatically be considered as part of the Union.
Mr Cascado's comments have prompted a furious reaction from some supporters of Catalan independence.
The protests followed days of soaring tensions after police cracked down on voters during a banned October 1 Catalan independence referendum, prompting separatist leaders to warn they would unilaterally break away from Spain in days. The "hard-core elements" of the separatist movement are pressuring Puigdemont to move ahead, said Wolfgang Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence, in a note.
The demonstrators defend the respect for independence in law-making in Catalonia and also unity across Spain.
Opinion polls have consistently suggested more Catalans favor remaining in Spain than declaring independence.
The region of Catalonia, home to 7.5 million people in the northeast, is crucial to Spain, which is the EU's fifth-biggest economy and a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont is coming under increasing pressure after a number of Catalan-based companies re-located outside of the region in the wake of an unofficial independence vote just over a week ago.
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Several Injured in Collision in Central London
Inmediaciones of the Natural History Museum #London Hombre reducido en el suelo antes de that llegue policía, no sabemos q pasa. Several pedestrians were left injured after a vehicle reportedly mounted a pavement outside the attraction in London .
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Puigdemont will address the Catalan parliament at 6 p.m. (5.00 p.m. ET) on Tuesday on "the current political situation" amid speculation he could ask the assembly to declare independence.
Catalan leaders came under intense domestic and worldwide pressure on Monday to halt plans to break away from Spain after the region's president repeated his threat to declare independence and the government warned it would act to block it.
"We have to calculate very well what the reaction in Madrid will be when in the Parliament of Catalonia, independence will be declared", Mr Mas told the ABC.
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied Sunday in a tide of red and yellow national flags in what is the worst upheaval since the country returned to democracy in the 1970s.
"They have family ties, they go there on weekends", said Jean-Luc Pujol, co-founder of the political party Yes To A Catalan Country, which pushes for greater autonomy in the French region. "Let's go back to reason" march, more than one million people took part.
Spain's President Rajoy has said he would use all lawful means to keep Spain intact.