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Normalcy Returns to Catalonia as Spain Enforces Direct Rule
Normalcy Returns to Catalonia as Spain Enforces Direct Rule

Normalcy Returns to Catalonia as Spain Enforces Direct Rule

Normalcy Returns to Catalonia as Spain Enforces Direct Rule

Work resumed normally in Catalonia and calm reigned on the streets on Monday despite calls for civil disobedience from secessionist politicians, in early signs the direct rule imposed to stop an independence bid from Spain was taking hold.
Although some public sector workers have yet to tell their new bosses whether they will accept orders, the lack of unrest came as a relief for financial markets, which rose, Reuters reported.
Catalonia, a prosperous region with its own language and culture, triggered Spain’s biggest crisis for decades by holding an independence referendum on Oct. 1, which Spanish courts called illegal.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy assumed direct control of the region on Friday, sacked its secessionist government and called a snap election for Dec. 21.
However, some of the most prominent members of the Catalan administration, including its president, Carles Puigdemont, and vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, had said they would not accept the move and only the people of Catalonia could dismiss them.
Spain’s state prosecutor on Monday called for rebellion and sedition charges to be brought against Catalonia’s leaders over their push to separate from Spain. Attorney-General Jose Manuel Maza also called for charges of misuse of funds to be laid.
Under Spain’s legal system, the request goes to a judge for consideration. Maza asked the judge to call the secessionist leaders to testify.
The main civic groups behind the pro-independence campaign had called for widespread civil disobedience, and said that public sector workers such as teachers, firefighters and the police should refuse orders from the central authorities.
But most workers started their working day at 9 am (0800 GMT) as normal and there was no sign of widespread absenteeism.
Most sacked Catalan leaders remained ambiguous on Monday and stopped short of directly defying Spain’s authority. There were no signs of any spontaneous demonstration taking place.
Two hundred thousand public sector workers receive salaries paid by the Catalan region, and another 100,000 in the region rely directly on the Madrid government.
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of a unified Spain marched on Sunday in one of the biggest shows of force yet by the so-called silent majority that has watched as regional political leaders push for Catalan independence.
Two opinion polls also showed support for independence may have started to wane. A Sigma Dos survey published in El Mundo showed 33.5% Catalans were in favor of independence while a Metroscopia poll published by El Pais put that number at 29%. This compared to 41.1% in July according to an official survey carried out by the Catalan government.

 

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