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Catalan leader says they will declare independence in days

CATALAN LEADER SAYS THEY WILL DECLARE INDEPENDENCE IN DAYS

Catalonia's pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont says in a interview with BBC that they will declare independence from Spain end of this week or the beginning of next week.

Catalonia's pro-independence leader said Tuesday the northeastern region of Spain is likely to declare independence within a week.

"We'll probably do this when we have the votes in from abroad, at the end of this week or thereabouts, so we'll act at the end of this week or the beginning of next week," Carles Puigdemont told the BBC in his first interview since the referendum.

The news comes days after Catalonia's tense independence referendum, declared illegal by Spanish authorities and where the region's passive civil disobedience was met with police force. It also comes just hours after a strong speech by Spanish King Felipe VI in favor of Spanish "unity and permanence".

"There's no going back now… the days to come will be complicated, but we have to resist," David Peña, an activist in Catalonia, told Anadolu Agency.

Asked what would happen if Spain seized Catalonia's autonomy, as it appears poised to do, Puigdemont told the BBC: "it would be an error which changes everything".

Puigdemont has appealed for international mediation, although the European Commission said Monday that it "trusted" Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to handle the situation.

The European Parliament is scheduled to debate the issue Wednesday.

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