Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said in a televised address that he will resist direct rule imposed by the Spanish central government in Madrid over the self-declared Catalan Republic and promised to work towards a free country.
In a pre-recorded TV address to broadcast to Catalans on Saturday afternoon, Puigdemont called for peaceful opposition to Spain’s takeover of regional government.
“My message to you is to have patience, perseverance and perspective,” Puigdemont told his people, calling for “democratic opposition” to Madrid.
On Friday, while the Spanish Senate was in the midst of approving the implementation of Article 155 from the country’s constitution, Puigdemont’s ruling party passed an approval of the declaration of independence in the Catalan regional parliament.
Once the Senate approved the use of Article 155, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy utilized its power to impose direct rule from Madrid, dissolve the region’s parliament and kick Puigdemont from local leadership on Saturday morning.
Control of Catalonia was handed over to Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, until new Catalan regional elections are held in December.
Puigdemont and his “Together for Yes” party were elected in the 2015 regional election with a clear majority.
The Oct 1 independence referendum resulted in about a 43% turnout and a 90% in favour in independence. The low turnout was attributed to police brutality from the national civil guard and an opposition-encouraged boycott.
In his address, Puigdemont said “we are certain that the best way to defend the achievements up to today is by democratically opposing the application of Article 155, which is the conclusion of a premeditated aggression against the will of the Catalan people, who in large majority and throughout many years, have felt like a European nation.”
Many Catalonians say they feel as though more goes to Madrid then is received in return, with historical persecution by Spain’s last dictator, General Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.
It appears although a majority of Catalans are in favour of independence, but there are some who support the anti-separatist Socialist Party who want to stay within Spain.
Celebrations rocked Barcelona outside the government buildings, with thousands taking part in pro-independence rallies and anti-separatist protests that went long into the night in Catalonia.
A massive rally was held in Madrid on Saturday, with local media reporting it as a demonstration “for the city of Spain and the constitution”.
Catalonia’s ruling pro-independence party on Friday passed a resolution in the regional parliament to formally declare independence.
The region’s opposition boycotted the vote that passed 70 to 10.
A declaration was written by separatists and signed by leaders including Mr Puigdemont on Oct 10 following an independence referendum on the first of the month.
The document was put on hold to open dialogue with Spain’s central government, who rejected talks.
After a deadline passed last week, Spain’s Cabinet moved on Saturday with Article 155 plans.
After the Senate voting process started, the last part of the overall approval process for the document, the parliament of Catalonia moved towards independence.
More details to follow. Image 1 of Carles Puigdemont addressing Catalonia on TV on Saturday from TN.