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Spain's central government in Madrid on Saturday put forward plans to trigger Article 155 for direct rule in the Catalan region in North Eastern Spain. The independance referendum was  immediately dismissed by Madrid nearly 3 week's ago. The measures must now be approved by Spain's Senate in the next few days. 

Catalonia independence rally

Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered. Reports say Spain's interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia's Mossos police force and public broadcaster TV3.

How the Catalan People Are Reacting

Mr Rajoy had "not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy" said Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a "serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere" and called for demonstrations. In a nation that loves their soccer the president of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu weighed in and said the club gave its "absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people".

The next 48 hours will give us an indication of what turn this turn, peaceful or otherwise.

How we saw The Referendum: Spanish Euro Paella - Catalonia Independence Declaration Signed and Suspended

The independance  document calls for Catalonia to be recognised as an "independent and sovereign state". It is clear Spain at this point will have nothing to do with such a motion with concerns of a domino affect with other regions such as the Basque. The Basque independance movement ETA waged a domestic war with Spain's powers for decades with mutliple deaths.

The declaration reads: "We call on all states and international organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state."

In this case the October 1st referendum was declared invalid by Spain's Constitutional Court. European leaders are concerned that simialr ethnic and regional divisions will want to break away as did the U.K. from Europe with Brexit. 

In a world of fake news and distortion both sides in Sapin give different versions. Catalan officials say the referendum resulted in almost 90% of voters backing independence,  However anti-independence voters largely boycotted the ballot. The reported turnout was 43% with several reports of irregularities.

Mr Puigdemont told the regional parliament that the "people's will" was to break away from Madrid, with that said he wants to "de-escalate" tensions adding "We are all part of the same community and we need to go forward together. The only way forward is democracy and peace," he told deputies.

Catalonia was being denied the right to self-determination, and paying too much in taxes to the central government in Madrid he said. In a country racked by massive youth unemployment this is no small issue. 

The response from Madrid has been curt at best. 

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria responded to by saying: "Neither Mr Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim... to impose mediation."

"The speech the president... gave today is that of a person who does not know where he is, where he's going, nor who he wants to go there with."

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called an extraordinary cabinet meeting the next Wednesday morning to address the crisis. Clearly the two sides are a long way apart. Financial markets in Europe are largely taking it in stride, largely due to the short lived response to other risk off events in the past few years. While the Euro finished higher against the dollar today European stock markets all finished down.

Source: BBC -

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