MADRID, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – Depriving Catalonia of its autonomous rights will not stop the region’s independence movement, Catalan president Artur Mas said on Tuesday.
“[The Spanish government] should not think that this will stop the course of history,” Mas told Catalan lawmakers, adding that Madrid should learn from UK authorities, whose policies have made the upcoming Scottish referendum possible.
Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said earlier on Tuesday that Spain would use “all legal tools available to prevent a separation referendum” in Catalonia, including stripping the region of its autonomous status.
According to Mas, the Madrid government is showing double standards, as it appeals to the law, but chooses “not to comply with it whenever necessary.”
“Do not be surprised that there are people in the region who believe that the time has come to achieve [autonomy] in other ways,” Mas stated.
The Catalan leader noted that he would not go as far as claiming that all Catalans want independence, but said that the residents of the autonomous community wished to establish just how many of them want the region to secede from Spain.
“The movement for Catalan rights is not dead. It is now more alive than ever, but in a different form, as it is no longer asking the government for authority or resources, but rather for a nationwide survey,” Mas said.
Tensions in Catalonia about secession from Spain have increased in light of the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, which will be held on September 18.
A referendum on Catalan’s independence has been set for November 9. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Constitutional Court of Spain have repeatedly stressed that they will not recognize the results of the vote, which they consider illegal.