Spain declared it was dissolving Catalonia’s government, following a parliamentary declaration by the latter establishing Catalonia as an independent republic.
Shortly afterwards, Spanish lawmakers voted to invoke special constitutional powers allowing the Spanish government to seize control of the traditionally autonomous region, and ready for regional elections come December.
Situated in the northeast region of Spain, Catalonia is a largely an independent territory with its own language and mores. It’s among the wealthiest and most developed regions of the country. It boasts Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city and her principal port and trade hub. More than 7 million people call Catalonia home.
Catalonia has its own culture and its own tongue, a dynamic that induced those with a desire for self-rule to call for independence from Spain. The motion to break away was voted by Catalonia’s 135-member parliament by a slim margin, with opposition legislators walking out prior to the vote in protest.
The push to secede is led by Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president and regional leader. Thousands of independence supporters took to the streets near Catalan regional government castle to hail the self-government vote which took place Friday, some dancing and chanting for the removal of the Spanish flag.
Over 600 people were treated for cuts and injuries when protestors and Spanish police clashed following the vote on Oct. 1. Many regional and international experts have indicated this declaration of independence remains hypothetical and symbolic due to the lack of statutory and logistical control, and international backing.
“The declaration" will see the fracture between hardliners and the pragmatic people in Catalonia who are already seeing an economic fallout," said Andrew Dowling, an expert in Catalan history at Cardiff University in Wales, to the Associated Press.