The Spanish government deprived Catalonia of its autonomy and took over its government.
The decision took effect on October 28th, after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence on October 27th.
An official state bulletin released Catalan leaders and handed over control of the region to Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.
Earlier, the Spanish Interior Ministry claimed responsibility for the Catalan police after firing senior Catalan police officers.
On October 27, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and the removal of Catalan President Carles Puigdemon and called early local elections.
Demonstrations for and against independence continued overnight.
They are expected today, and a rally “for the unity of Spain and the constitution” will be held in Madrid.
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The crisis began on October 1st, when Catalan leaders held a referendum on independence, challenging a Constitutional Court ruling declaring it illegal.
According to the Catalan government, of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favor of independence. Others boycotted the vote after the court ruling.
On October 27, the Catalan regional parliament voted to declare independence from Spain.
Shortly afterwards, the Spanish Senate gave the government of Mariano Rajoy the power to impose direct rule on Catalonia.
It did so on October 28, publishing an official bulletin that released Carles Puigdemon and all members of the government.
The announcement came hours after the Spanish government removed Josep Luis Trapero Alvarez as head of Catalonia’s autonomous police in Mossos.
Josep Luis Trapero Alvarez has already been investigated for riots, accused of failing to help Spanish Guardia civilian police deal with thousands of Barcelona independence protesters in the run-up to the referendum.
Pere Soler i Campins, CEO of Mossos, was also fired.
The regional elections are scheduled for December 21st.
Carles Puigdemon called on supporters to “maintain momentum” peacefully, but Spanish prosecutors say they will charge him with “rioting” against him next week.
The separatists claim that the independence move means that they no longer fall under Spanish jurisdiction.
However, Spain’s Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the EU, the United States, Britain, Germany and France have voiced support for Spanish unity.