The Latest: Spaniards rally against Catalan secession plans

The Latest: Spaniards rally against Catalan secession plans

October 7th, 2017 by Associated Press in National Business

Spaniards pack Colon Square in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Thousands of pro-Spanish unity supporters donning Spanish flags have rallied in a central Madrid plaza to protest the Catalan regional government's drive to separate from Spain. (AP Photo/Paul White)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - The Latest on Spain's political crisis amid Catalonia's push for independence (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Thousands of Spaniards are rallying in Madrid to show their support for a united Spain and protest against a push for independence by the northeastern region of Catalonia.

The crowds have turned Plaza de Colon in a sea of Spanish flags, with some jumping into a fountain and dancing.

The rally comes six days after Catalonia held a referendum on secession that Spain's government warned was illegal and the country's top court had suspended.

Separatists lawmakers in Catalonia are now mulling over whether to unilaterally declare independence, a move that would thrust Spain into a national emergency.

___

10:50 a.m.

A member of Catalonia's separatist-led government has called for a "cease-fire" with Spain to decrease tensions after a disputed referendum on independence by the prosperous region.

Santi Vila, Catalonia's regional chief for business, told Cadena SER Radio late Friday that he's pushing for "a new opportunity for dialogue" under "a cease-fire" with Spanish authorities.

Vila says he is against Catalonia unilaterally declaring independence at this moment and wants to see a committee of experts from both sides be created to work toward a solution to the political crisis.

Separatists say they won the Oct. 1 referendum, but Spain says the vote was illegal, invalid and unconstitutional. Less than half of the electorate cast ballots in the referendum which has marred by a brutal police crackdown.