SPAIN has imposed direct rule on Catalunya as the region’s parliament declared independence from Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted triggering Article 155 to strip Catalunya of its powers was necessary to establish ‘law, democracy and stability’.

CATALAN CRISIS: Pro-independence supporters march in Barcelona

Meanwhile, Catalan MPs voted 70-10 for independence in a ballot boycotted by the opposition.

The Spanish Senate granted Rajoy the authority to begin taking control of the region and sacking Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Rajoy tweeted: “I appeal for all Spaniards to stay calm. The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia.”

Jubilant crowds gathered in Barcelona following today’s independence vote by MPs.

Earlier, Catalan politicians argued bitterly over the vote, with Carlos Carrizosa of Ciutadans calling it ‘a sad day and a blow to democracy’.

“Puigdemont will be remembered not for ruining Catalonia but for having divided the Catalans and Spain,” he said.

Carles Riera of the CUP said Friday’s vote would lead to full independence.

“We declare the republic of Catalunya,” he said. “This is a happy day.”

On Thursday, Puigdemont had ruled out holding fresh regional elections to stop Madrid activating Article 155.

The Catalan leader declared independence on October 10 following the October 1 independence referendum.

Some 90% of Catalans voted for independence, although turnout was an estimated 42.3% with many pro-union voters staying away.

Madrid had declared the referendum was illegal with around 900 people injured on the day following heavy-handed police tactics.



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