Catalonia's secessionist leader came under intense pressure on Monday to abandon plans to declare independence from Spain after hundreds of thousands of unionists took to the streets at the weekend to protest against the region breaking away. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
A day after hundreds of thousands of pro-Spain unionists protested in Barcelona the Spanish government and Catalonia show no signs of compromise. Following the banned referendum on the region's independence held at the start of the month, Spain fears the Catalan parliament will vote to break away on Tuesday (October 10) when its leader Carles Puigdemont is due to address the assembly. Bomb disposal officers were seen examining the area outside the Catalan regional government building on Monday (October 9) as tension simmers. Losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, is almost unthinkable for Madrid. And Spain's deputy prime minister said on Monday the government will act on any independence declaration. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPAIN´S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA, SAYING: "If this gentleman (Catalan President Carles Puigdemont) declares unilateral independence, we will have to take measures and that decision will be made by the government of Spain. We will try to have other (political) groups to join us, but as I am saying, that declaration will have a response. Is that convincing enough?" Puigdemont under mounting pressure to rethink. The leader of the country's Socialist party has already said he will back Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Catalonia. And neighbor France has said it won't recognize a unilateral independence declaration. Economic pressure is also rising on the pro-independence camp. A stream of Catalonia-based firms, including its two largest banks, have moved their legal bases outside the region. And the boards of three more companies were meeting on Monday to discuss doing the same.