The Latest: Rajoy calls on Catalan leader to act sensibly

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Posted: Oct 18, 2017 5:59 AM
The Latest: Rajoy calls on Catalan leader to act sensibly

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called on party colleagues of Catalonia's pro-independence president to convince him to back down on the region's push for independence from Spain.

Spain has given Catalan president Carles Puigdemont until Thursday morning to clarify if he has declared the region's independence or not. Otherwise, the government may take the unprecedented step of seizing some or total control of the semi-autonomous region, moving the conflict with the region to another level.

Speaking in parliament Wednesday, Rajoy called on Puigdemont to act sensibly and keep in mind the interests of all Spaniards and Catalans.

Addressing Puigdemont's fellow party lawmakers, Rajoy said they should make an effort to convince the Catalan leader "not to make any more problems" as that would "oblige the government to make decisions that would be better never to make."

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10:20 a.m.

About 50 Spanish and Catalan party lawmakers have held up posters in Spain's parliament demanding the release of two pro-Catalonia independence movement leaders, describing them as political prisoners.

Wednesday's protest in Madrid lasted around 15 seconds before the lawmakers heeded warnings that they were out of order and sat down.

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The demonstration was over Monday's jailing of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan grassroots organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, in a sedition investigation. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Tuesday in Catalonia, demanding their release.

Spain has given the pro-independence regional president of Catalonia until Thursday morning to clarify if he has declared independence or not. Otherwise, the government may seize control of the semi-autonomous region, moving the conflict with the region to another level.