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Catala president Carles Puigdemont (C), vice president Oriol Junqueras (L) and president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell (R) sing the Catalan anthem “Els Segadors” after a session of the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on October 27. Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic.
Catala president Carles Puigdemont (C), vice president Oriol Junqueras (L) and president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell (R) sing the Catalan anthem “Els Segadors” after a session of the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on October 27. Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic.

Catalonia Declares Independence

Catalonia Declares Independence

The Spanish government moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia on Friday, stripping the region of its autonomy less than an hour after its parliament declared independence in a stunning show of defiance.
Although the Catalan declaration appears to be a doomed gesture, both sides’ moves take Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades to a new and possibly dangerous level, Reuters reported.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm and said the rule of law would be restored in Catalonia, where secessionists have long cherished the dream of a separate nation.
A crowd of more than 2,000 independence supporters gathered in the Ciutadella Park outside the regional parliament in Barcelona, shouting “Liberty” in Catalan and singing traditional songs as the independence vote went through.    

The motion passed in the parliament after a passionate debate from advocates and opponents of independence said Catalonia constituted an independent, sovereign and social democratic state.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont left the chamber to shouts of “President!” and mayors who had come from outlying areas brandished their ceremonial batons and sang the Catalan anthem “Els Segadors” (The Reapers).
But immediately after news of the vote, which three opposition parties boycotted, Spanish shares and bonds were sold off, reflecting business concern over the turmoil in the wealthy region.
Within an hour, the upper house of Spain’s parliament in Madrid authorized Rajoy’s government to rule Catalonia directly— an unprecedented move in Spain since the return of democracy in the late 1970s.
In Brussels, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the independence vote changed nothing and the EU would only deal with the central government in Madrid.
In Washington, the US State Department said it backed Madrid’s efforts to keep Spain united and Catalonia was an integral part of the country.
“Exceptional measures should only be adopted when no other remedy is possible,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an address to the Senate on Friday morning.
“In my opinion there is no alternative. The only thing that can be done and should be done is to accept and comply with the law,” said Rajoy, who has staked out an uncompromising position.
How direct rule would work on the ground - including the reaction of civil servants and the police - is uncertain. Some independence supporters have promised to mount a campaign of civil disobedience.

 

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