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Spanish Constitutional Court Orders Suspension of Catalonia Parliament

  • VOA News

Anti-independence demonstrators waving Spanish flags shout slogans during a protest in Barcelona, Oct. 4, 2017.

Spain’s Constitutional Court has ordered the suspension of a Catalonian special parliamentary session next week, during which regional leaders plan to vote to break away from Spain.

A spokeswoman for the court said judges "ordered the suspension of the plenary that has been called for Monday in the [Catalan] parliament" as the constitutional court hears appeals against it.

Catalonian lawyers have said the session would be illegal because it deals with the referendum vote over the weekend, which had already been suspended by the Constitutional Court.

WATCH: Catalans Worry About Future as Tensions With Madrid Continue

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also called on Catalonian authorities to cancel plans to break off from Spain, in order to avoid “greater evils.”

In an interview with Spain’s official EFE news agency, the prime minister called on Catalonian leaders to “return to legality” with the affirmation that “there will be no unilateral declaration of independence.”

On Wednesday, regional president Carles Puigdemont called for dialogue between the two sides, but would not renounce plans for secession next week.

Spain's Catalonia region, which held an independence referendum Sunday amid a violent crackdown by federal police, could declare independence as early as this week.

Puigdemont told the BBC the regional government would act once final vote counts are in.

Catalonia authorities said 90 percent of those who voted Sunday wanted to break away from Spain and declare an independent republic. Voters braved sometimes violent attempts by federal police to close polling stations and prevent Catalans from casting ballots in the referendum, which Spain's high court had earlier declared invalid.

Local authorities said about 900 people were injured in confrontations with police. The crackdown prompted international criticism and calls for talks between Madrid and the regional government.

Labor strikes and protests shut down transportation and businesses across Catalonia on Tuesday, while Spain's king criticized the regional government, saying its "irresponsible behavior" put the stability of Catalonia and all of Spain at risk.

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