Spain celebrates national day amid Catalan secession crisis

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MADRID (AP) - Army troops and police are to march in Madrid as Spain's celebrates its national day, amid one of the country's biggest crises as its powerful northeastern region of Catalonia threatens independence.

King Felipe VI is to preside over the colorful annual parade Thursday as Spain awaits a response to a government request to Catalonia's leader to clarify by Monday if he has already declared independence, in which case Spain warns it may begin taking direct control of the region.

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont announced Tuesday that he was using the claimed victory in a banned Oct. 1 referendum to proceed with a declaration of Catalan independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with the national government in Madrid.

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