Pressure mounts on Catalan separatists after unity rallies

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French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said her country will not recognize Catalonia if it declares independence from Spain, clarifying such a move will mean Catalan exit from the EU.

The resolution was passed unanimously to acclaim. The messy economics of a divorce - especially the thorny question surrounding the repayment of sovereign debt amassed by the Spanish and Catalan government - could lead to a sudden change in credit ratings, widening spreads on Spanish bonds and might even signal a return to the volatility that the Eurozone experienced in 2011-12. They range from old-school socialists to old-family capitalists, who say the referendum was either a bad idea or just done badly.

A declaration of independence would intensify the conflict with the central government, which along with the national courts has branded the referendum illegal.

The pro-independence Catalan National Assembly said two big screens will be placed near the parliament to follow the debate. 2014 saw a similar vote, with a higher turnout (probably seeing as voters weren't being attacked by police) and with the same results.

On the face of present crisis, the best possible solution lies in honouring the democratic rights of the Catalans and their call for self determination in a peaceful manner, which will also serve as the best example for other states that may strive to gain independence in near future.

Catalan authorities had protected the Aranese culture and language from a central government hostile to the idea that Spain is made up of different "nations", he said, sat by the valley's river. However the police claim only 350,000 people were at the event. However, with the opposition party and their supporters opposing this motion and the court ruling the referendum illegal, does Catalonian government have a way around? The referendum, and resulting police crackdown, is a hot topic of conversation around the food stalls. They are caught between sympathy for the cause of independence, and desire for a recognised and legitimate process (like, say, the Edinburgh Agreement).

Banks would be particularly hard hit by a split with Spain as Catalonia would likely find itself outside the European Union and its system of regulation and safeguards. The EU's silence over the violent scenes during the contested vote prompted some - including former Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick - to renounce their former backing for membership. Rajoy's conservative People's Party have not helped this situation, and they certainly aren't helping now that their response to a vote has been suppression. But "it is more a cosmetic change than a concrete one, because no one believes that Catalonia is going to become independent".

The measure, which is described as the "nuclear option" by Spanish analysts, has never been invoked by the government since the restoration of democracy after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975.

Hundreds of thousands of unionists took to the streets of Barcelona at the weekend to protest against the region breaking away.

On Saturday, a similarly large rally was held in the city to demand secession from Spain, while another demonstration was held in support of Spanish unity in Madrid.