Former President of the Catalan Government and leader of Partit Democrata Europeu Catala (Catalan European Democratic Party) PDECAT, Artur Mas speaks during an AFP interview on Feb. 6, 2017 in Barcelona. / AFP / Josep Lago /
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On trial for holding a symbolic independence vote, Catalonia's former leader Artur Mas warned Madrid against implementing drastic measures to stop another such referendum – binding this time – from taking place as planned by his successor.He and two former members of his government are accused of severe civil disobedience and misconduct for holding the vote after it was banned by Spain's Constitutional Court, which had declared it illegal.More than 80 percent of those who cast their ballot in the vote did so for independence – although just 2.3 million people out of a total of 6.3 million eligible voters took part.Mas, Catalan president from 2010 to 2016, has now been replaced by Carles Puigdemont, the former mayor of Girona.Mas said that Catalonia's pro-independence authorities may be up against the state and its institutions, but still have the power to call people onto the streets.
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