Catalonia’s secessionist leader came under intense pressure on Monday to abandon plans to declare independence from Spain after hundreds of thousands of unionists took to the streets at the weekend to protest against the region breaking away.

Spain fears the Catalan parliament will vote for independence on Tuesday, when Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is due to address the assembly in the wake of a banned Oct. 1 referendum in which Catalan officials say people voted overwhelmingly for secession.

Under Catalonia’s referendum law, deemed unconstitutional by Madrid, a vote for independence on Tuesday would start a six-month process that would envisage divorce talks with Spain before regional elections and a final act of separation.

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