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29 Oct 2017

Catalans urged to peacefully oppose Spain takeover

Catalonia's disputed president Carles Puigdemont has urged Catalans to oppose Spain's takeover of the region peacefully.

In a pre-recorded statement broadcast on regional channel TV3, Mr Puigdemont, whose leadership is not recognised by Madrid, called for peaceful action and said that "we will continue working to build a free country".

"It's very clear that the best form of defending the gains made up until now is democratic opposition to Article 155," he said.

He also said only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalan government.

Behind him hung the Catalonian flag and the flag of the European Union, but no Spanish flag.

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At the same time as the pre-recorded statement was broadcast, national television channel La Sexta TV showed live footage of Mr Puigdemont having lunch in his hometown of Girona, where residents occasionally interrupted him for selfies.

His statement followed the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, dissolving Catalonia's parliament after the region's MPs declared independence.

European officials have condemned the declaration of independence, with EU president Jean-Claude Juncker saying "there isn't room in Europe for other fractures or other cracks. We've had enough of those."

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