Spain's Rajoy Ready To Trigger "Nuclear Option" As Hundreds Of Thousands Protest Against Independence In Barcelona

Tyler Durden's picture

One week after the historic Catalan Independence Referendum vote reopened Europe's populist Pandora Box of nationalist secession movements, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia’s capital Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to any declaration of independence from Spain, which according to Reuters showed "how divided the region is on the issue."

Last Sunday, more than 90% of the 2.3 million people who voted backed secession, according to Catalan officials. But that turnout represented only 43 percent of the region’s 5.3 million eligible voters as many opponents of independence stayed away. Now its the others' turn to be heard.

The protesters rallied in central Barcelona, waving Spanish and Catalan flags and banners saying “Catalonia is Spain” and “Together we are stronger”, as politicians on both sides hardened their positions in the country’s worst political crisis for decades.

As is typically the case, estimates of the crowd size varied enormously, with the range given as between 350,000 up to a million.

According to Reuters, the demonstration in Barcelona was organized by the anti-independence group Catalan Civil Society under the slogan “Let’s recover our senses” to mobilize what it believes is a “silent majority” of citizens in Catalonia who oppose independence.

“The people who have come to demonstrate don’t feel Catalan so much as Spanish,” said 40-year-old engineer Raul Briones, wearing a Spanish national soccer team shirt. “We like how things have been up until now and want to go on like this.”

It was a second day of protests after tens of thousands of people gathered in 50 cities across Spain on Saturday, some defending Spain’s national unity and others dressed in white and calling for talks to defuse the crisis.

Meanwhile, in an interview with El Pais newspaper, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he will consider taking the so-called "nuclear option" - the dramatic measure of suspending Catalonia's autonomous status - as Catalan leaders escalate threats to declare independence from the country, which could culminate with a parliamentary announcement as soon as Monday.

Asked if he was ready to trigger article 155, Rajoy told El Pais newspaper: “ I am not ruling out anything that the law says. What I have to do is do things at the right time, which is the most important thing right now. The ideal situation would be to not have to take drastic solutions, but for that to happen there would have to be rectifications."

Until this weekend, Rajoy has remained vague on whether he would use article 155 of the constitution  which enables him to sack the regional government and call a local election.

Reverting back to a hardline stance, the conservative prime minister ruled out using mediators to resolve the crisis - something Puigdemont has said he is open to - and said the issue would not force a snap national election. The Prime Minister also added the government would “prevent any declaration of independence from materializing in anything”. “Spain will continue being Spain,” he said.

Rajoy reiterated that until the regional government abandons its intention to proclaim independence, no talks can take place.

“As long as it does not go back to legality, I certainly will not negotiate,” Rajoy said, adding that while the Spanish government appreciates proposals to mediate between the national and Catalan governments, it will have to reject them. “I would like to say one thing about mediation: we do not need mediators. What we need is that whoever is breaking the law and whoever has put themselves above the law rectifies their position."

Rajoy's position is understandable: losing Catalonia - Spain's wealthiest region - is unthinkable for the Spanish government.  It would deprive Spain of about 16% of its people, a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of its exports. Catalonia is also the top destination for foreign tourists, attracting about a quarter of Spain’s total.

"We are going to stop independence from happening. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding," Rajoy told El Pais. He also called on "moderate" Catalans to "come back" and move away from "extremists, radicals" as well as the Popular Unity Candidacy party (CUP) spearheading the movement. It is the first time he has reached out to the Catalan people since the referendum.

Rajoy also slammed the independence bid as part of a current wave of populism sweeping across Europe, pointing to the rise of far-right parties in France, Germany and the UK. "Another form of populism, without doubt, is this nationalist populism that we are experiencing, which violates the fundamental principles of the European Union, goes against the rule of law, against law enforcement, and so it is a problem also from Europe.

"And that's why Europeans have stuck up for us and all the governments have supported the Spanish constitution and the upholding of the law."

Actually, the reason why European have stuck with Spain, is because if Catalonia achieves independence it will unleash a waterfall sequence of copycat referendums, where other independence movements will pursue their own secession dreams. 

It remains unclear just how the current Spain crisis is resolved: the past week in Catalonia has been nothing short of chaotic. Madrid responded to the vote with force, sending thousands of police to the region to shut down the vote. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has threatened to declare independence early next week, and hundreds of thousands of Catalan protesters marched in favor of splitting from Spain this week.

Below is a live feed from the Barcelona anti-independence protest:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
w4mps's picture

Yup. That should do it. Down with the peasant rabble.

Latina Lover's picture

Worked well the last time Spain took over Catalonia:

Will history repeat?


E-Knight's picture

Wait until the real 'nuclear' option is on the table.

ThirdWorldNut's picture

Placards in english!? Who is their target audience?

Thats all you need to know.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Perfectly printed signs magically appear. Demonstrations neatly organized. Thousands of flags neatly unrolled. Yep. It' clear that Spain hired the same "Protests R Us" group that Erdogan did.

BarkingCat's picture

It would be nice to see an investigative reporter walk up an interview some of these protesters. Ask them where they are from and then ask to show their identification. That would be enlightening, I think.


stinkypinky's picture

And the march is held in Barcelona to make it more convenient for the Spaniards masquerading as Catalonian so they don’t have to drive to Barcelona before putting on their show. Got to make sure the international community has something to point to (“see - the separatists are a minority”) before the real bloody crackdown happens. Got to give them an alibi to turn a blind eye to what’s about to happen.

glenlloyd's picture

To further that thought I'd ask why the (small) placards being held up by SPANISH citizens are in ENGLISH? It seems very odd, unless it's being done by idiots who are there (read bused in) to protest (by Soros?) but aren't really Spanish and really don't have a dog in this fight.

Something strange about Spanish citizens waving placards about the Catalan secession, but written in English

Don Diego's picture

LOLZ, so Soros paid the 500.000 protesters? how much each? 20 euros each? so Soros spent 10 million on this? Why would do he do it? he is in favor of Catalan independence you dummy. A few months ago 200.000 Catalans demonstrated asking for MORE of the Soros rapefugees.

Mr Camoron's picture

They've had at least a week. It doesn't take very long to get signs printed.

Hans-Zandvliet's picture

Excellent observation, brilliant!!!

Raffie's picture

Same peeps that protested the UK leaving the EU?

G Soros is doing all he can to keep the EU in his wallet.

peopledontwanttruth's picture

The financial elites only can hold their power and magic as long as they can keep the thoughts of a unified world of NWO and the needs of a global economy and currency. As the world fragments they lose their grip of power and influence over the masses.

It's becoming terminal velocity for the global elites as their magical influences over the masses is over. Their support base is drying up as the fragmentation of mankind picks up steam, they'll seek out those that destroyed their economies and planet.

The Wizard's picture

The should read Catalonia is our milk cow.

Crazy Or Not's picture

Good numbers just don't to try and convince anyone these are locals!

Signs in English .... Gene Sharp playbook  - viz a viz - someone's been coached!

(as noted by Third World Nut: the likely source of stratergy is important. professionals at work!)

Don Diego's picture

since you are in Barcelona, please take pictures of the 10.000 buses necessary to bus that crowd and share them with us.

Also please send links of the Cataliban leaders condemning the bussing of that 0.5M crowd.

Please do!

Crazy Or Not's picture

Hi Fascist Lover.
I think we'll have to wait for the pictures to emerge, though it seems like the Ave (high speed train) has been exceptionally busy.

They seem like a nice bunch though (sarc):

Euronews carries a busses story.  (Below) There is news on the net that FREE trains have been laid on for anyone in Spain who wanted to go to Barcelona on Sunday to protest the independence movement.

This really diverts the real story. Which is Spain (in whole or in parts) should be looking at opportunities for its future. Rather than digging up demons of its past and perceiving Catalans as threats. Spain languishes in the doldrums of Europe and seems to ignore the infrastucture issues of Catalonia (Barcelona 44million tourists 2016.  11% of Spain's tourist GDP).
The attitude seems to be take the (Tax) money, don't invest, don't develop, and don't learn or listen how to roll out the Catalan enteprise model elsewhere in Spain. 
Opportunities are being lost for all. Sad

Don Diego's picture

those comrades were in Madrid. With so many fascists in Spain, how come they don't  have a single representative, senator or town councillor? maybe because they are 0.2% of the vote? so now the protestors were not bussed in, they were trained in?

20-20 Hindsight's picture


Right on.  I immediately noticed the same thing too.  This makes absolutely no sense and shows how gullible and stupid those people are:

a) to allow themselves to be manipulated in this manner; 

b) to not notice that their placards are not even written in their own language; and 

c) to not understand that their staged protest is only going to exarcerbate the problem, not make it go away.

I look forward to the Catalan leader's response, saying that this is all fake news.  The cycle of bullshit never ends.

peopledontwanttruth's picture

Sorry wasn't trying to steal your thunder I should have read more comments as I said the same thing on someone else's post

Why is it whenever these stories hit about people protesting and they hold up signs, it's never in their native language but always well printed and clear English speaking signs?

Something isn't right with this protest. Remember the Malaysian airliner downing and all those well written English signs.


ThirdWorldNut's picture

No problem at all, whats important is that we spread the message and someday hopefully defeat the globalists.

peopledontwanttruth's picture

Thanks man I do believe for those that see it, it becomes clearer but still the masses are ignorant of their own choosing

Don Diego's picture

If the 0.5M crowd was mostly bussed in (a few thousand were I admit it) you would expect the Cataliban leaders  raising a stink but they are very quiet as they know the truth and do not want to antagonize further the other half of Catalonia.

You would expect also pictures from Cataliban activists of the 10.000 buses.

Independentist main rag says nothing about bussed crowd (please note .cat address):

mrman's picture

I agree with you but El Periódico is not a pro-independance newspaper (they have a Spanish publication as well: Why this needless manipulation?

Don Diego's picture

very few people had placards and  most were in Spanish, and Catalan, a handful in foreign languages. Obviously, the foreign photographer takes pictures of the placards that his audience can read. Do a youtube of the demonstration, don't be lazy and you will see the truth, not what ZH wants you to believe.


booboo's picture

Ol Ave Lincoln wouldn’t put up with this shit, he’d burn Catalonia down to the ground and kill a million serfs to preserve the EU. I see m

Mr Camoron's picture

It worked so well that Catalonia remained part of Spain for the last eighty years!

remain calm's picture

You are not free fuckwads, you are subjects of the state. Enjoy your slavery

SoDamnMad's picture

Rajoy, if he was smart which he isn't, should listen to the deeper complaints and do something about that.  This region sends an auful lot of money to Madrid who just pisses it away (where have we seen that before). Eitherr spend more in Catalona, request less or stop your waste.  Simple for everyone except a lousy, corrupt politician.

Déjà view's picture

Real easy to resolve...España...adhere to your past principles!

Slovenia was the first to declare “sovereignty” in 1990, issuing a parliamentary declaration that Slovenian law took precedence over Yugoslav law. Croatia followed in May, and in August, the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina also declared itself sovereign. Slovenia and Croatia began a concerted effort to transform Yugoslavia from a federal state to a confederation.

BONN, Jan. 15— In a triumph for German foreign policy, all 12 members of the European Community, as well as Austria and Switzerland, recognized the independence of the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia and Croatia today.

blentus's picture

Let's also not forget Montenegro.

Their referendum was also deemed valid and ok by the west and everyone else.

After Milosevic was kicked out in 2000, new 'democratic' and western funded/supported government made a deal that would allow Montenegro to leave the union within few years.

Just as west wanted.

I really love how all those EU mongoloids keep repeating that 'Kosovo' (and Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, ...) was a special case.

But Catalonia and Crimea and Kurdistan are not special cases.

I can't wait for politicians to explain how North Kosovo (where Serbs are majority) can not ask for independence from Kosovo. Because, obviously, that is also not a special case.

Same shit just keep on going and going and going...

BarkingCat's picture

Also do not forget the fact that Germans sent Croats weapons to start the armed conflict.

Also German and British spooks working overtime to create chaos there.

Maybe CIA as well.

skbull44's picture

"The law is what we say it is" said every oligarch everywhere throughout time...

Cash2Riches's picture

The elite are in full blown panic mode, as they watch their NWO agenda crumble around them. Nationalism around the world is rising. Good.

peopledontwanttruth's picture

Why is it whenever these stories hit about people protesting and they hold up signs, it's never in their native language but always well printed and clear English speaking signs?

Something isn't right with this protest. Remember the Malaysian airliner downing and all those well written English signs.


Don Diego's picture

Back in the real world, the Catalibans have lost and they are trying desesperatedly to negotiate but nobody is picking up the phone. They lost all leverage.

If come Tuesday they declare independence, the full weight of the law will fall against them. The police will not go that easy this time as there is really no point. If they call you fascist and murderer for just two injured, you might as well make many more.

Sorry folks, no civil war in Spain, your wishes fell in deaf ears, the Catalans are not interested in fighting. You are now in the denial phase, the next one will the anger phase, you will be angered against the "Catalan pussies" ( or replace it with your favorite ethnic slur) that did not have what it takes to fight.

The truth is, that life is good in "fascist," and "racist"  Spain, we have one of the best quality of life. The Catalans are sensible people and will not ruin it and least of all for your entertainment and warrior fantasies.

If you do not like the system, pick up your AR-15 and fight yourself, do not expect others to do it for you.

WOAR's picture

Lost all leverage? According to the law, they never had any. That doesn't make it right for the police to beat the fuck out of old ladies, it gives Spain the right to ignore the vote.

That's the problem here. You are trying to use FORCE to compel people to live a certain way. In a free society, that is not required. It reminds me of the vote in Australia over gay rights. They called for people to vote, but if you voted no, you were an evil person that should be fired for their hate (and some people were fired because of their vote). So, what's the point in voting if you can only vote one way? When you can only say yes?

All you're saying is that the Catalonians have no right to be free, and you have the balls to smile about that, which is sad.

deja's picture

Living demonstration for the necessity of the second amendment. 

Serfs Up's picture

But where are the cops to beat all those people up?

ScratInTheHat's picture

In the busses that brought them in waiting for the counter protest.

“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”-ThomasJefferson's picture


Sunday's independence vote protesters were bused in.

Multiple Thousands of them.

SRV's picture

Crisis actors from Charlottesville left over from Soros birthday party... yes, it was

tmosley's picture

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. "Silent majorities" vote. If these people had voted, then there would have been no issue. But they didn't.

Has all the markings of a Soros/deep state operation. Any craigslist ads for paid demonstrators?

Don Diego's picture

a few thousand from the rest of Spain bought their own ticket and travelled there, it is in all Spanish papers, no conspiracy.

Now tell me, where do you park in downtown Barcelona the 10.000 buses to transport a crowd of 500.000 people? ask your Cataliban buddies to please send some pictures of those 10.000 buses.

For me Barcelona downtown (small historic streets) can handle 500 buses, 1000 tops.