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Friday October 20th, 2017 5:44PM

The Latest: Catalan grassroots group calls for secession now

By The Associated Press
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia's bid to declare independence from Spain (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

An influential grassroots separatist group has joined voices in Catalonia urging the regional president to ignore warnings from Spain's central government and definitively declare independence.

The Assemblea National Catalana, or ANC, has issued a brief statement calling for regional leader Carles Puigdemont to lift a temporary suspension of an ambiguous independence proclamation he made this week.

Puigdemont said that Catalonia was proceeding with independence but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to see if negotiations could be held with Spanish authorities.

The central government responded by threatening to activate constitutional powers to take over Catalonia's self-government.

Adding pressure on Puigdemont, ANC says that "it doesn't make sense to keep the suspension of the independence declaration" given Madrid's rejection of any dialogue.

The ANC is a civil society group that organized massive protests in support of secession.

___

10 a.m.

A key political ally of the ruling pro-independence coalition in Catalonia has urged regional president Carles Puigdemont to push ahead with a declaration of independence from Spain.

Spain's government has threatened to activate unprecedented measures to take over Catalonia's self-government if secession plans go forward.

Central authorities have given Puigdemont a Monday deadline to clarify whether he declared independence during an ambiguous parliamentary speech this week. He had said that Catalonia was proceeding with a declaration of independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with Spain's government.

The far-left separatist Catalan party CUP said in a letter dated Friday that Puigdemont should ignore the Spanish government's warning, lift the suspension and definitively proclaim independence.

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