Barcelona: Hours after declaring independence from Spain, Catalonia woke up on Saturday under the direct control of Madrid as the Spanish Prime Minister deposed it’s leaders and dissolved the Catalan parliament.
Madrid also fired Catalonia’s regional police chief.
The firing of Josep Lluis Trapero, Catalonia’s highest-ranking policeman, was published in the official government gazette as Spain perched on a knife’s edge in its worst political crisis in decades.
In a dramatic escalation of a political crisis that has stoked alarm in Europe and sent shock waves through Spain, Mariano Rajoy also decided to call snap Catalan elections on December 21 to “restore normality” to a region in turmoil.
All eyes this weekend will be on whether Catalonia’s separatist executive willingly steps down and independence supporters carry out their threat of peaceful resistance to Madrid’s takeover. In the Spanish capital, protesters were due to hit the streets today against Catalonia’s declaration of independence, which while lacking any legal basis has caused strife in a region deeply divided on whether to split from Spain.
On Friday in Barcelona and other Catalan cities, thousands celebrated their regional parliament’s motion for independence, which passed with 70 votes for, 10 against and two abstentions in a 135-seat chamber that anti-secession MPs had deserted in protest.
Demonstrators in Barcelona broke out in ecstatic shouts of: “Independence!” as the result was announced, while separatist MPs cheered, clapped and embraced before breaking out in the Catalan anthem.