CROWDS outside the Catalan parliament erupted in celebration, letting off fireworks as Catalonia declared its independence from Spain yesterday afternoon, after a vote of 70 ‘SI’ (Yes) to ten ‘NO’, defying both the Spanish state and the EU.
The Catalan parliament required 68 votes to declare its independence. Before the vote, Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan parliament read out the following declaration for an independent Republic of Catalonia: ‘We asked the European Union to intervene to stop violence against our population.
‘We want a European project which defends the democratic rights of citizens; this is the reading of the proposal ahead of this vote. Following the referendum, we declare that Catalonia is an independent sovereign state!’
The referendum, carried out at the beginning of this month, was declared illegal by the Spanish state which attempted to use brute force to stop it taking place. On October 1st, 92% of those who managed to vote, voted ‘YES’ for independence. Despite the Spanish state, police injuring 1066 civilians, 46% of Catalans managed to vote.
Footage was seen of women being dragged out of the polling booths by their hair by the Spanish state police. The Mossos d’Esquadra, the 17,000-strong police force of Catalonia refused to carry out orders to break up the referendum and take part in the violence.
After yesterday’s historic vote declaring Catalan independence, the Spanish parliament retaliated by voting to disband the Catalan parliament and impose direct rule on the area.
Spain’s Senate voted to enact Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which empowers the government to take ‘all measures necessary to compel’ a region in ‘case of a crisis’.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier told senators that direct rule was needed to return ‘law, democracy and stability’ to Catalonia.
This means the dissolution of the Catalan parliament, the stripping of all of the Catalan MPs of their roles and the possible arrest of Catalonia’s leaders. It also means bringing in the Spanish state National Guard and national police force who will then be in direct conflict with Catalonia’s own police force, and the masses of the people, raising the prospect of open civil war.