Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned anew today that Spain will not be divided by a declaration of independence from Catalonia and said the government is ready to respond to any such attempt. Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont plans to address the Catalan parliament tomorrow to debate the current political situation. Separatist politicians say there will be a declaration of independence for the northeastern region of 7.5 million during that session, although some ruling coalition lawmakers say the move could be simply "symbolic." Still, Rajoy was being as explicit as possible in warning that the national government in Madrid would not stand for such a declaration. "Spain will not be divided and the national unity will be preserved.
We will do everything that legislation allows us to ensure this," Rajoy told the German newspaper Die Welt. "We will prevent this independence from taking place." Secession-minded authorities in Catalonia have vowed to break away from Spain after claiming a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum earlier this month. The October 1 vote has been followed by mass protests of Catalans angered by police violence as authorities tried to stop the vote and, more recently, by others in Catalonia and Madrid urging the unity of Spain. 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. "Credibility and dignity suggest making the declaration of independence tomorrow," said Jordi Sanchez, the head of the civil group National Catalonia Assembly said today. Puigdemont has not clarified what his intentions are. Rajoy's deputy, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, also warned that Spain would act decisively if there was any independence declaration. "If they declare independence, there will be decisions to restore the law and democracy," said on Monday during a radio interview. She called for members of the Catalan government "who still respect democracy and freedom to refrain from jumping into the void." Catalonia's top judicial official, meanwhile, ordered additional Spanish police protection for the headquarters of the regional judiciary. The regional Mossos d'Esquadra police force, whose hierarchy reports to the Catalan government, had been in charge until now of guarding the palace in central Barcelona that hosts the judiciary.
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