Spain takes over Catalonia, fires defiant separatist leaders

AP , Saturday 28 Oct 2017

Catalan Crisis
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reads beside Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfonso Maria Dastis (R) as he chairs a cabinet meeting at La Moncloa palace in Madrid on October 27, 2017 (Photo: AFP)

Spain has taken direct control of Catalonia and sacked the region's defiant separatist government by publishing special measures overnight in an official gazette online.

The move early Saturday came after separatist Catalan lawmakers passed a declaration of independence on Friday.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who now replaces Catalan President Carles Puigdemont as the top decision-maker in the northeastern region, has dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election on Dec. 21.

Puigdemont and the 12 members of the Catalan Cabinet will no longer be paid and could be charged with usurping others' functions if they refuse to obey.

There was no immediate response from the top Catalan officials. Only the director of the Catalan regional police, who was also fired, issued a statement saying he would comply.

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