Pressure mounts on Catalan separatists after unity rallies

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"Given the negative implications of independence for economic activity in Catalonia due to its likely exclusion from the European Union and euro area, we think the likelihood of independence is very low", a note from JP Morgan analysts read today. This "legal position" establishes the principle according to which a State born out of secession within the EU would not automatically be considered as part of the Union.

Some protesters called for Puigdemont to go to jail for holding the independence vote.

It's believed he could use the opportunity to declare independence.

"If there were to be a declaration of independence, it would be unilateral and it would not be recognized", French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau told French broadcaster CNews on Monday. Some chanted "Don't be fooled, Catalonia is Spain" and called for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to go to prison.

The demonstrators defend the respect for independence in law-making in Catalonia and also unity across Spain.

Turnout was 43 per cent as Catalans who reject independence largely boycotted the poll.

Catalonia accounts for almost a fifth of Spain's economy, and leads all regions in producing 25% of the country's exports, CNNMoney reports.

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Caixabank, Spain's number 3 bank, and Banco Sabadell, the number 5, have both moved their head offices out of Catalonia last week following an independence referendum that the Madrid government attempted to block.

Rajoy says he would only hold talks with Puigdemont's side if the Catalan separatists abandoned their independence bid in line with the Spanish constitution.

Far-right protesters broke into Fascist chants and performed Nazi salutes during protests across Spain held over the Catalan independence referendum.

Rajoy assured Catalan leaders that there "is still time" to backtrack and avoid triggering a tough response from the central government in Madrid. Spanish police, ordered to prevent the referendum, clashed with voters and supporters, and Catalan officials said over 900 people were injured. However, Catalans have always been calling for more say in spending, higher status for their language and recognition that they are a nation distinct from Spain, BBC writes.

Pablo Casado, the party's deputy secretary for communications, told reporters: "Let's hope that nothing is declared tomorrow because perhaps the person who makes the declaration will end up like the person who made the declaration 83 years ago".

Despite the outrage, Rajoy and Spanish King Felipe VI defended the police and doubled down on their stance to take whatever measures necessary to keep Catalonia from seceding.

Moves by local companies to re-locate their headquarters and expressions of support from euro zone heavyweights France and Germany for Spanish unity were also increased pressure on the region's pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont to back down.