SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has linked what he called the “lies and division” of Brexit to the Catalan case for independence.

In a speech to Spain’s Congress, he also made a thinly-veiled threat to Catalan president Quim Torra, that if his government acted outside the law, it would be met with a forceful response.

“Anything that is outside the constitution and the statute will have the firm but serene, proportional and forceful response of the social and legal status,” he warned. Sánchez said the independence movement and Brexit shared the same pattern: “They walk in the same way of invented grievances and binary decisions, which require a choice between identities, processes in which a third party is blamed and one’s own responsibilities are ignored, in which the one who disagrees and generates tension is demonised. Independence is undermining the collective project of Spain.

“We have heard an unacceptable inflammatory rhetoric, heavy messages combined with a lack of functions that is not admissible for the government of Spain.”

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The National:

Catalan president Quim Torra angered the Spanish premier

The Spanish premier then turned on Torra’s remarks likening the Catalan case with that of Slovenia, which ended in a 10-day war. Sánchez worked in Bosnia during the Kosovo War in 1998, and said: “Claiming, as does the Catalan independence movement, the Slovenian way is typical of someone who only has the lie to sustain their political positions.

“I was a witness of the civil war and ethnic cleansing. I worked in a square riddled with the hatred of nationalist bullets.”

The Slovenian government, for its part, has called the Spanish ambassador to Ljubljana to appear before its foreign minister. It said it would stress that Slovenia did not act violently to achieve independence, but only responded to Yugoslav attacks.

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Meanwhile, the Catalan political prisoners who are on hunger strike have said they are “a bit weaker”. Yesterday was the 12th day without food for Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez, who both tweeted: “We are a bit weaker but with a great deal of energy. This hunger strike is a very thoughtful decision, nothing improvised and, therefore, mentally we are prepared to face it.”

The others now entering their 10th day on hunger strike, ex-ministers Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull, were equally determined.

They wrote on social media: “The defendant of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent until guilty is proved (art 11 of the Decl Univ of Human Rights). We demand that it be applied.”

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