POLITICS

Across Spain, demonstrators take to the streets to oppose Catalan independence push

People sit in a restaurant ahead of an informal poll scheduled for next Sunday is seen in a street in Girona, Spain, on Saturday Nov.8, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

People sit in a restaurant ahead of an informal poll scheduled for next Sunday is seen in a street in Girona, Spain, on Saturday Nov.8, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

An organization that opposes plans by the northeastern region of Catalonia to hold an informal independence poll has held protests in several cities across Spain.

Several hundred people in Madrid listened to Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa read out a statement Saturday describing the poll planned for Nov. 9 as disrespectful of "the rule of law or the true will of the people."

The group, called Libres e Iguales (Free and Equal) includes politicians, intellectuals such as Vargas Llosa, and aristocrat Carlos Falco. It held gatherings in 52 cities said Popular Party lawmaker, Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo.

A protest in the Catalan city of Girona proceeded peacefully, she said. However one in Barcelona saw minor scuffles between pro- and anti-consultation supporters that the police broke up without making arrests.

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