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World News

Church in Barcelona calls for calm after referendum

Spain, which declared Sunday's referendum illegal and invalid, is bitterly opposed to any independence move.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has said an independence declaration will come within a few days, is due to deliver a speech later on Wednesday.

The referendum has triggered Spain's worst national crisis in decades. Authorities said 900 people were treated in hospital following clashes with police who were ordered to prevent to the vote on Sunday.

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
Childhood friends David Jovellar, 24, wearing an 'estelada' or independence flag and Almudena Chueco, 23, wearing a Spanish flag hug as they bumped into each other at a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017. Thousands of people demonstrated against the confiscation of ballot boxes and charges on unarmed civilians during Sunday's referendum on Catalonia's secession from Spain that was previously declared illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court

Rev John Chapman from St. George's Church in Barcelona told Premier that the church is seeking peace now as it did after the recent terror attack in the city.

He said: "I think that we have to, as a church, be people who stand for the attitudes of Christ in the midst of whatever is going on, and that is what we try to do."

Rev John said many of his international congregation are married to Catalans and Spaniards with different opinions.  He said it's important for the church to encourage dialogue and not to take a political position.

He has encouraged his congregation to show concern for the situation and to be there for anyone affected by the situation.

Rev John Premier: "On the whole, there's a very peaceful spirit around. People are happy, there's a sense of contentment."

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
President of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell, center, attends a meeting with parliament representatives at the Catalonia Parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Catalonia's regional government is mulling when to declare the region's independence from Spain in the wake of a disputed referendum that has triggered Spain's most serious national crisis in decades.

In a special national address on Tuesday night, Spain's King Felipe VI came out strongly against the actions of Catalan authorities, arguing that they had deliberately bent the law with "irresponsible conduct".

The Spanish state, he went on, needed to ensure constitutional order and the rule of law in Catalonia, which is the richest region of Spain, counting Barcelona as its capital.

Catalonia said some 2.3 million people - less than half the region's electorate - voted in the referendum.

Many of those opposed to independence are thought to have stayed at home after the referendum was deemed illegal by Spanish courts. Of those who voted, some 90 percent voted yes to independence.

Going down the independence route will not be easy for Catalonia. The region does not have any powers over defence, foreign affairs, taxes, ports or airports, all of which are in the hands of the Madrid government.

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