Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Spanish court says vote to split illegal

Spanish court says vote to split illegal

The demonstrators have flooded a main avenue, holding up candles, pro-independence "estelada" flags and chanted "political prisoners, freedom".

It is unclear what would happen to Barcelona and other Catalan clubs if the northeastern region of Spain did declare independence, and so the league's governing body have made a decision to delay opening up the bidding for television rights by two weeks.

Spain's top court has officially ruled that Catalonia's disputed independence referendum was illegal because a regional law that backed it was against Spain's constitution.

Triggering it could represent a drastic escalation of Spain's worst political crisis in decades which was sparked when Catalonia held a banned independence referendum on October 1.

On Monday, a Madrid judge provisionally jailed Sanchez and Cuixart in a sedition investigation.

Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull says he is not surprised.

"We are facing an executive power in the state that uses the judiciary branch to block the legislative", Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters shortly after the ruling was announced.

Barcelona are one of the biggest clubs in the world and were founding members of the Spanish league in 1928 but their status as a La Liga side could come under threat if Catalonia were to become an independent state.

"Does anybody really think that if you destroy a police auto, nothing then happens?"

The court temporarily suspended the law after it was passed by Catalonia's regional parliament on September 6 while judges considered an appeal against it filed by Spain's central government.

Meanwhile, Agusti Alcoberro, who is standing in for Sanchez as head of the Catalan national assembly, said peaceful protests would be the local response to what he said was the Spanish government's heavy-handed approach.

Since then there has been a stalemate between separatist leaders and the Spanish government, which has shaken stock markets and brought thousands of people onto the streets.

Information for this article was contributed by Aritz Parra, Ciaran Giles and Barry Hatton of The Associated Press; and by Raphael Minder of The New York Times.

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