Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has formally demanded the Catalan leader clarify whether independence has been declared, saying that is needed before he can decide what steps to take.
In a veiled threat, Rajoy said the clarity was required by the constitutional article that would allow Spain to intervene and take control of some or all of Catalonia’s regional powers.
Rajoy issued the demand Wednesday following a special Cabinet meeting to respond to an announcement from the head of the wealthy Catalonia region that he was proceeding with a declaration of independence but was suspending it for several weeks to facilitate negotiations.
The demand follows a brief, peaceful demonstration by a Greek anarchist group at Spain’s embassy in Athens, to protest against the Spanish police crackdown on Catalonia’s independence referendum.
Police say 18 people were detained for questioning after they voluntarily left the embassy building in Athens city center. No damage was reported during the two-hour protest.
The anarchist group Rubicon said that Wednesday’s protest was prompted by the Spanish government’s “violence and repression,” but it was not in support of Catalan independence.