Unrest in Spain escalated yesterday after the provincial parliament of Catalonia formally declared independence from the Spanish crown.
The announcement was followed by a short-lived celebration before Madrid cracked down with a declaration of direct rule.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy disbanded the Catalonian parliament and sent in provincial police to restore order.
Despite refusals by Western governments to recognize Catalan independence, European independence movements were emboldened in places like Scotland, Wales, Bavaria, and Sicily.
If we thought things were unhinged here at home, Europe takes the cake. Things are only just getting started.
Here’s more from Reuters…
The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament on Friday, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago.
A new regional election will be held in Catalonia on Dec. 21, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address on a day of high drama.
As well as removing Carles Puigdemont as head of the autonomous region, he also fired its police chief and said central government ministries would take over the Catalan administration.
“Spain is living through a sad day,” Rajoy said. “We believe it is urgent to listen to Catalan citizens, to all of them, so that they can decide their future and nobody can act outside the law on their behalf.”
As he spoke, thousands of independence supporters packed the Sant Jaume Square in front of the Catalan regional headquarters in Barcelona, their earlier joyful mood somewhat dampened by Rajoy’s actions.
In a stunning show of defiance of Madrid, the Catalan parliament had voted in the afternoon to make a unilateral declaration of independence.
Despite the emotions and celebrations inside and outside the building, it was a futile gesture as shortly afterwards the Spanish Senate in Madrid approved the imposition of direct rule.
Several European countries, including France and Germany, and the United States also rejected the independence declaration and said they supported Rajoy’s efforts to preserve Spain’s unity.