London residents react to the crisis in Catalonia

More than 100,000 Spaniards are estimated to live in the UK, where they watched the Catalonian independence saga unfold from afar this week.

Today ousted Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont demanded the release of eight former regional cabinet members, including former deputy Catalan premier Oriol Junqueras, remanded in custody on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.

The separatist coalition, formerly led by Mr Puigdemont, voted to declare independence in the regional assembly last Friday and central government in Madrid responded by invoking Article 155 of the Spanish constitution on October 28th, suspending Catalan self-governance.

Speaking from an undisclosed location in Brussels, where he has since surrendered to authorities, Mr Puigdemont said: “It is a very serious mistake, a serious attack on democracy.

“We can not go wrong. We have to fight it without violence, with peace and respect for all opinions.

“A fierce repression awaits us.”

Rebellion carries a possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

Connie Bunch, 20, from Clapham, is studying in Madrid as part of a university exchange program.

She discussed the Brexit vote with her Spanish friends, who regard the UK’s global stature as superior to that of Spain.

“They thought Britain knew what they were doing with Brexit, whereas it seems to a lot of people in the UK that no one has any clue what is going on,” she said.

“This feeling of internal mess that permeates the thoughts of many British people at the moment doesn’t seem to have resonated with these Spanish people.

“They believe the UK’s decisions will always be accepted on an international stage because of their prestige.”

Her Spanish friends shut down a suggestion that the Catalonian saga bore similarities to the Scottish referendum in 2014, saying it was not the same.

“It seems that Spaniards have some of that similar self-consciousness when it comes to how they are seen internationally.

“One of my friend’s biggest worries was how it was all being portrayed in the British, American and international media,” she said.

Cristina Rodriguez, 55, has lived in central London for 20 years and is originally from Borox, an hour south of Madrid.

She thinks the secession bid is being overblown in the media, compared to the reality in Spain.

She said: “It’s a circus. This is all happening for nothing.

“Everyone has a fantasy in their brains.”

Her sisters back home heard the news of the independence vote via a Whatsapp message from Cristina in London.

“They are not paying attention because there is not much to pay attention to,” she said.

“I am more interested in what is happening because I am not in Spain myself.

“It will be business as usual once this dies down.”

It is possible that a European Arrest Warrant will be issued for Mr Puigdemont, who remains in Brussels today.

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