The Catalan regional parliament Friday voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic by a vote of 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by opposition MPs. The Spanish Senate responded by invoking Article 155 of the constitution for the first time ever annulling Catalan autonomy and imposing direct rule on the region after step condemned as illegal. This empowers Madrid to take control of the Catalan government police.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm and said “The rule of law will proceed in Catalonia.” Independence leader Carles Puigdemont and his ministers face dismissal and possible arrest for rebellion. He has called a cabinet meeting for this evening and promises a statement.
Crowds are gathering outside parliament in Barcelona as tensions mount, with some calls for arms against Madrid. The referendum declared earlier this month won a majority for independence but is also opposed by some Catalans.