November 23, 2017
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Catalonia’s parliament declared independence from Spain on Friday in defiance of the central government, in Madrid.

The Spanish government responded by approving direct rule in the breakaway region.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dessolved the regional parliament and called for elections on Decemeber 21. 

Below are all the latest updates on Friday’s declaration and the Spanish government’s response:

21:05 local time, October 28

Security for Catalan ministers being scaled down

Carles Puidgemont and several other former members of the Catalan government have had their security scaled down. Some Catalan ministers will have their security details completely removed, while Puidgemont, former leader of the government, will have a smaller number of security guards now responsible for his safety. 

The security is provided by the MOSSOS, the regional police force of Catalonia.

19:33 local time, October 28 

Spanish governments wants Puigdemont in new elections

The Spanish government has called on the sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to participate in the next Catalan elections.

Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said: “I‘m quite sure that if Puigdemont takes part in these elections, he can exercise this democratic opposition.”

After yesterday’s declaration of independence by the Catalan government, Puigdemont and his regional government were sacked by the Spanish government. Madrid announced it would hold elections for a new Catalan government before the end of the year.

17:53 local time, October 28 

France’s Occitanie region calls for dialogue

Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie region in France that borders Catalonia, has called for dialogue between the Catalans and the Spanish government.

Faced with this deadlock situation, I want to stress the need to find a way to open talks as soon as possible, notably to safeguard the civil peace,”, Delga said according to Reuters.

16:12 local time, October 28 

People gather in support of Spanish unity

In the Spanish capital Madrid thousands of people have gathered in support of Spanish unity. Many of them were seen carrying flags while they rallied on one of the main squares in the city.

15:00 local time, October 28 

Puigdemont calls for ‘democratic opposition’

Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of the Catalan government, called for continued democractic opposition in a response to the takeover of the regional Catalan government by Madrid.

“The best way to defend what we have conquered so far is to have a democratic opposition to Article 155,” Puigdemont said from his home city of Girona. Article 155 is the part of the Spanish constitution that allows the government in Madrid to imposte direct rule on the region. 

Puigdemont also said he would continue to work on what he called “a free country”.

09:00 local time, October 28 

Catalonia’s police chief dismissed

Spain has sacked the chief of Catalonia’s regional police force as the government in Madrid takes control of the autonomous region to block its push for independence.

Josep Lluis Trapero was fired on Saturday. Trapero became a hero to the secessionists after his force took a much softer stance than national police in enforcing a government ban on the independence referendum on October 1.

There have been doubts over how the Mossos d’Esquadra, as the Catalan police are called, would respond if ordered to evict sacked leader Carles Puigdemont and his government.

In an effort to defuse tensions, the regional police force urged its members to behave in a neutral manner and not to take sides.

23:57 local time, October 27, 2017 

Turkey: Catalan independence declaration ‘wrong’

Omer Celik, Turkey’s European Union minister, had added his voice to those calling for Spanish unity.

In a televised interview with Turkey’s Kanal 24, Celik described the Catalan parliament’s decision to declare independence as “wrong”.

“We do not find Catalonia’s declaration of independence legitimate,” he said.

“Turkey will continue to support Spain’s territorial integrity, constitution and political unity.”

21:10 local time, October 27, 2017 

‘We are not moving’ 

In a square outside the government palace in Barcelona, an announcer told the crowd that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is firing Catalonia’s regional government, dissolving its parliament and calling for a new regional election. 

The news was greeted with loud jeers and whistles.

A band took to the stage immediately after the announcement and the crowd once more began singing and dancing to the music.

The crowd in Sant Jaume Square shouted “we are not moving!”

 

20:50 local time, October 27, 2017 

PM Rajoy: ‘The state has the means to restore normality’  

Translation: The president of the Generalitat, his government, and the general director of the Mossos have been dismissed; we will close the delegations abroad. 

Translation: The state has the means to restore normality. We propose to the TC the invalidation of the resolutions approved today by the Parlament, Rajoy wrote. 

Translation: We put in place the first measures to prevent them from walking the road of illegality, Prime Minister Rajoy wrote.  

  

20:20 local time, October 27, 2017 

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain is firing the Catalan government as part of emergency measures the Senate approved following the region’s declaration of independence.

He also called for a new regional election on December 21.

Rajoy was speaking after a special cabinet meeting to discuss what measures to take in the wake of the Catalan parliament’s announcement of secession earlier on Friday.

The firing of the regional leaders is likely to meet with fierce opposition in Catalonia, where thousands have been celebrating the independence declaration.

“We never wanted to come to this point,” Rajoy said, adding that his aim is “to return (Catalonia) to normality and legality as soon as possible.”



Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a statement after a cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain [REUTERS/Susana Vera] 

20:10 local time, October 27, 2017 

Macron: ‘There is a rule of law in Spain’

French President Emmanuel Macron has thrown his full support behind Rajoy and the Spanish government. 

During a visit to French Guiana on Friday, Macron told journalists he has always had “one interlocutor in Spain, it is Prime Minister Rajoy”.

Macron added: “There is a rule of law in Spain with constitutional rules. Mariano Rajoy wants these rules to be respected and he has my full support.”

20:05 local time, October 27, 2017 

Official statement 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is to make a statement following a cabinet meeting on the emergency measures Spain plans to take following the Catalonia’s declaration of independence.

Rajoy said earlier that he plans to start by firing the Catalan government that declared independence. 

18:30 local time, October 27, 2017 

International reactions 

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Britain “does not and will not” recognise the Catalan regional parliament’s declaration of independence, which “is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts”.

But the Scottish government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party, criticised Spain for refusing dialogue and said imposition of direct rule by Madrid “cannot be the solution”.

External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop said, “the European Union has a political and moral responsibility to support dialogue to identify how the situation can be resolved peacefully and democratically”. 

18:20 local time, October 27, 2017 

Germany ‘does not recognise’ Catalonia independence move

Germany on Friday said Friday it supported the Spanish government in its dispute with separatists in Catalonia and would not recognise an independence vote by the Catalan parliament.

“The German government does not recognise such a declaration of independence,” Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. 

Berlin also said it supported the “clear position” of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in his bid to restore calm and order.

18:05 local time, October 27, 2017 

Extraordinary meeting 

Translation: Extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers to approve the authorised measures by the on the basis of article 155, Mariano Rajoy wrote.

18:05 local time, October 27, 2017 

Celebrations in Barcelona 

Catalans packed a central square in Barcelona, ready to celebrate the arrival of a new republic after the region’s legislators voted to declare independence from Spain.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Catalan government palace, applauding officials and legislators as they arrived and entered the building.

They called for the Spanish flag to be removed from the top of the 16th-century building.



People wave Esteladas (Catalan separatist flags) and gather at Sant Jaume square after Catalan regional parliament declares independence from Spain in Barcelona [Reuters] 

17:50 local time, October 27, 2017 

 Spanish Socialist opposition leader Pedro Sanchez 

Translation: “Together we have overcome adversity, and we will do it again. With law and policy. With respect to the other, dialogue and reform,” he says.

Translation: “Puigdemont and Junqueras are mainly responsible for fracturing and tearing apart the Catalan society. All for nothing,” Pedro Sanchez, Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) said.

  

17:30 local time, October 27, 2017 

‘Out with the Spanish flag’ 

In the Catalan town of Girona, supporters of the region’s independence bid apparently removed the Spanish national flag from the town hall building and replaced it with the Catalan regional flag.

Mobile phone video footage filmed Friday in Girona, northeast of the regional capital of Barcelona, and posted on Twitter showed a crowd cheering “out, out, out with the Spanish flag!” shortly after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare an independent republic.

  

17:39 local time, October 27, 2017 

Carles Puigdemont responded:

 

 Prime minister of Belgium wrote: 

 

17:15 local time, October 27, 2017 

US supports the Spanish government 

The US State Department says it stands in support of Spain’s government in its efforts to stop Catalonia’s independence bid.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said:

‘Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united.’ 

“Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united.”

 

16:45 local time, October 27, 2017 

‘We must keep to our values’

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont called on fellow separatists to remain peaceful in the face of an expected crackdown by Spanish authorities after the region’s legislators voted in favour of declaring an independent Catalan Republic.

Facing a crowd of hundreds of supporters packing Catalonia’s parliament building, he said:

“In the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacifism and dignity. It’s in our, in your hands to build the republic.” 

“In the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacificism and dignity. It’s in our, in your hands to build the republic.”

 

16:35 local time, October 27, 2017 

Carles Puigdemont then responded Tusk:

“As you know, Catalans, always favour the force of arguments.” 

 

16:20 local time, October 27, 2017 

‘Spain remains our interlocutor’ 

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, wrote:

“For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force.”

 

16:15 local time, October 27, 2017 

Spain’s Senate has authorised the government to apply constitutional measures to take control of the government of Catalonia.

A majority of senators gave the Spanish prime minister the go-ahead Friday to apply unprecedented measures including sacking Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet. 

The vote came shortly after the Catalan parliament itself voted in Barcelona to declare the region’s independence.

15:45 local time, October 27, 2017 

‘I call on Spaniards to remain calm’ 

Spain’s prime minister urged all citizens to remain calm after Catalonia’s parliament approved a motion declaring the region a republic independent from Spain.

Rajoy wrote: “I call on all Spaniards to remain calm. The rule of law will restore legality to Catalonia.”

Rajoy’s tweet came as the Spanish Senate in Madrid prepared to approve government proposals to take direct control of region Catalonia.

15:40 local time, October 27, 2017 

Thousands of people who have gathered outside Catalonia’s parliament building in support of the region’s independence bid cheered and danced after the parliament passed a motion saying it wanted to establish an independent Catalan Republic.

 

15:35 local time, October 27, 2017 

Catalonia’s regional parliament passed a motion saying they are establishing an independent Catalan Republic.

Separatist legislators celebrated as the vote was approved with 70 votes in favour of independence, 10 against and two blank ballots.

Spain opposes the independence bid and the central government in Madrid is preparing measures to take over control of the northeastern region. No country has expressed support for the secession bid.





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