The Spanish government decided to take control over Catalonia dismissing the Catalan president, ministers, diplomats and police chiefs after Catalonia’s declaration of independence. The Catalan parliament was dissolved, and the authority over the region transferred to the central power in Madrid.

Tensions between pro-independence and the rest of the Spanish people continue to increase. Last Friday, the separatist government of Catalonia presided by Carles Puigdemont declared independence from the kingdom of Spain after the elections of October 1st where 90 percent of the people who cared to vote chose independence.

Catalonia declaration of independence, Spain dismisses Catalonia leaders
Catalans react to their leaders’ declaration of independence. Image credit: Reuters

Carles Puigdemont, who posed himself as a martyr, was president of Catalonia’s government until that same Friday.

“Look, we’re not such revolutionaries. We will have to wait. So, they announced a new republic. Good! If you look at history, we had one republic that lasted three years, one that lasted three days. Let’s see how long this one lasts.” Said Joaquim Bayo, 87, a retired salesman.

Puigdemont: ‘Catalonia is and will be a land of freedom’

We are living the revival of secessionist nationalisms in Europe. Catalonia is an example of that. Their desires of being a separated republic can actually be traced centuries back. However, they have been recently canalized through the figure of Carles Puigdemont, whose government called for a referendum on October 1st to decide whether or not they will remain as a region of Spain.

According to the provided results, 90 percent of the voters said they wanted to be an independent republic. However, it is important to note that only 41.5 percent of those who were entitled to vote bothered to do so. Plus, according to many specialists on the matter, the referendum was unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, Puigdemont decided to declare independence from Spain last Friday, setting Barcelona as the capital of the new republic; completely overlooking the consequences of such an act. The Catalan Government was aware that the declaration would force the central government in Madrid to trigger Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows Madrid to take control over any of the autonomous regions.

Catalonia declaration of independence, Spain dismisses Catalonia leaders
Puigdemont, in a defying move, announced Catalonia’s independence on Friday. Image credit: Reuters

Even Puigdemont, in a prerecorded call, invited the Catalans to mount a democratic opposition to the takeover, which he knew was about to start. Puigdemont criticized Spain’s takeover and called it “a premeditated attack on the majority will of Catalans.”

Is Catalonia really free now?

The article was invoked with 214 votes of the Senate in favor  against only 47 votes  to dissolve Catalonia’s parliament and take all the functions of the regional government including courts and its police.

The high-rank officials of Catalonia were dismissed  including obviously its president who could even face a jail sentence of 20 years under the charges of rebellion  and more than 140 Catalans were advised they no longer hold positions of power. Elections were called for Dec. 21.

On Saturday morning, Barcelona was calmer than expected, as if people were wondering what to do next. While some may be happy with their independence, some might just feel they are not really sovereign, in fact, they might have less sovereignty than they did before.

Source: The Washington Post