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sábado, 21 de octubre de 2017

'The worst attack since Franco': Catalan leader slams Spain's PM after he sacks regional government to crush 'rebellion' as 450,000 take to streets to demand independence amid fears of new civil war

  • Catalan protesters took to streets of Barcelona today as Mariano Rajoy announced plans to impose direct rule
  • Spanish Prime Minister wants to sack autonomous region's government and call election within six months
  • Also wants central government ministers to assume powers of Catalan officials to thwart independence bid
  • Catalan president Carles Puigdemont branded the central government's plans an 'attack on democracy'
  • And its parliament speaker Carme Forcadell accused the central authorities in Madrid of carrying out a coup
Mariano Rajoy wants to sack the region's government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a break away by the autonomous region.
But his strong stance, which includes a threat to arrest the region's president if he declares independence, led to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont accusing the Spanish leader of the worst attack on the region 'since Franco'.
Mentioning Spain's notorious fascist dictator, Mr Puigdemont branded the Spanish government's plans an 'attack on democracy' and accused Mr Rajoy of seeking to 'humiliate' Catalonia. 
Catalans cannot accept the 'illegal' measures taken by the Spanish government, calling them 'the worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco.'

Plans by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to sack the Catalan government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a drive by the autonomous region to break away led to angry protests on the streets of Barcelona tonight
Plans by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to sack the Catalan government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a drive by the autonomous region to break away led to angry protests on the streets of Barcelona tonight
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (third from left) takes part in a march with deputy president Oriol Junqueras (second left) and former Catalan President Artur Mas during a protest in Barcelona this afternoon
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (third from left) takes part in a march with deputy president Oriol Junqueras (second left) and former Catalan President Artur Mas during a protest in Barcelona this afternoon
Mr Rajoy's aggressive stance, which includes a threat to arrest the region's president if he declares independence, led to him being accused of a 'coup d'etat'. These demonstrators gathered in the city centre to speak out against the plans today
Mr Rajoy's aggressive stance, which includes a threat to arrest the region's president if he declares independence, led to him being accused of a 'coup d'etat'. These demonstrators gathered in the city centre to speak out against the plans today
Thousands of pro-independence campaigners carried banners saying Llibertat - freedom - during the lively protests which began earlier today and carried on into this evening 
Thousands of pro-independence campaigners carried banners saying Llibertat - freedom - during the lively protests which began earlier today and carried on into this evening 
 Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the Spanish government's plans, and the announcement was met with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona
 Even moderate Catalans were aghast at the scope of the Spanish government's plans, and the announcement was met with banging pots and honking cars in the streets of Barcelona
 Rajoy's conservative government is likely to obtain the national Senate's backing next week for extraordinary powers that will allow him to dissolve the Catalan parliament and call an early election. Pictured: Protesters in Barcelona today
 Rajoy's conservative government is likely to obtain the national Senate's backing next week for extraordinary powers that will allow him to dissolve the Catalan parliament and call an early election. Pictured: Protesters in Barcelona today
Rajoy said his government had taken the unprecedented decision to restore the law, ensure regional institutions were neutral and guarantee public services. But many Catalans, like the ones pictured, are angry at the plans
Rajoy said his government had taken the unprecedented decision to restore the law, ensure regional institutions were neutral and guarantee public services. But many Catalans, like the ones pictured, are angry at the plans
The measures must now be approved by Spain's upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27. Protesters in Barcelona hope to put pressure on the Spanish government to change its mind
The measures must now be approved by Spain's upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27. Protesters in Barcelona hope to put pressure on the Spanish government to change its mind
Protesters are angry at Rajoy's plans for officials from the central Spanish government to replace all senior members of the Catalan government, including those in control over the regional police, financial system and the public media

A protester in Barcelona today


In a televised address earlier today, Mr Puigdemont called plans by Mr Rajoy to replace him and his cabinet an "attempt to humiliate" Catalonia and an "attack on democracy". Pictured: Protesters watching the address
In a televised address earlier today, Mr Puigdemont called plans by Mr Rajoy to replace him and his cabinet an 'attempt to humiliate' Catalonia and an 'attack on democracy'. Pictured: Protesters watching the address
The Catalan president's comments were a veiled threat to push ahead with an independence declaration for the prosperous region in north-eastern Spain
The Catalan president's comments were a veiled threat to push ahead with an independence declaration for the prosperous region in north-eastern Spain
Catalonian demonstrators keep protesting throughout the evening

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He said in a televised speech: 'I ask the parliament to meet in a plenary session during which we, the representatives of the citizens' sovereignty, will be able to decide over this attempt to liquidate our government and our democracy and act in consequence.'  

How memories of Franco's Civil War persecution still haunt Catalonia

Catalonia was an independent region on the Iberian Peninsula with its own laws and customs until the reign of King Philip V, who defeated the Catalans in battle and created modern-day Spain. 
Subsequent Spanish kings tried to impose Spanish laws and language on the region, but abandoned their attempts in 1931 and restored the Catalan government. 
The region lost autonomy in the wake of the Civil War after fascist dictator Francisco Franco won the Battle of Ebro in 1938. 
He seized control of the Catalan government, abolished the language and killed 3,500 people after nearly half a million died in the brutal Civil War. 
The region regained some autonomy after Franco died in 1975, but for many this was not enough.Mr Rajoy said his government had taken the unprecedented decision to restore the law, ensure regional institutions were neutral and guarantee public services. 
The measures must now be approved by Spain's upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27. 
Mr Rajoy's conservative Popular Party holds a majority in the Senate, and the measures also enjoy the support of the main opposition Socialists and centrist Ciudadanos party.
If the Senate passes the proposals, the Catalan parliament will continue to operate as normal until it is dissolved. 
However, it will be unable to elect a new president to replace Mr Puigdemont or vote on any laws that go against Spain's constitution and its statute as a semi-autonomous region.
Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont joined the protest in Barcelona this afternoon before delivering a speech in response to the decision to take over the regional cabinet's functions at 9pm tonight.
Independence campaigners are also angry about the imprisonment of activists Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, who were both leading figures in the October 1 referendum.
The speaker of the Catalan parliament said the Spanish government had made an effective 'coup d'etat' in what she called an 'authoritarian' attempt to take control of the northeastern region.
Carme Forcadell says in Barcelona that Mr Rajoy has announced a de facto coup d'etat with the goal of ousting a democratically elected government.'
Mr Forcadell said the move is 'an authoritarian blow within a member of the European Union.' 
Catalonia's vice president Oriol Junqueras promised to meet supporters at the protest to take a stand 'against totalitarianism.'
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy this afternoon said he would curb the powers of the parliament of Catalonia, sack its government and call an election within six months
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy this afternoon said he would curb the powers of the parliament of Catalonia, sack its government and call an election within six months
Left-wing Catalan Nationalists demand autonomy for the region with a demonstration in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, on February 20 1936
Left-wing Catalan Nationalists demand autonomy for the region with a demonstration in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, on February 20 1936
Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain for nearly 40 years
A member of the Catalan Communist youth in 1936

Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain for nearly 40 years, pictured left in an outdated photo. On the right is a member of the Catalan Communist youth in 1936
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont arrives at a demonstration organised by Catalan pro-independence movements

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont arrives at a demonstration organised by Catalan pro-independence movements
Protesters hold pro-independence Catalan Esteladas flags as they gather for a demonstration on earlier today in Barcelona

Protesters hold pro-independence Catalan Esteladas flags as they gather for a demonstration on earlier today in Barcelona
The Spanish government moved decisively Saturday to use a previously untapped constitutional power so it can take control of Catalonia and derail the independence movement

The Spanish government moved decisively Saturday to use a previously untapped constitutional power so it can take control of Catalonia and derail the independence movement
Thousands of protesters took to the streets this afternoon to demonstrate against the decision to suspend Catalan's autonomy

Thousands of protesters took to the streets this afternoon to demonstrate against the decision to suspend Catalan's autonomy
Thousands of protesters took to the streets this afternoon to demonstrate against the decision to suspend Catalan's autonomy

Thousands of protesters took to the streets this afternoon to demonstrate against the decision to suspend Catalan's autonomy


At the national level, Pablo Echenique, a secretary in the far-left Podemos party, vowed to work to oust Mr Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party
Pro-business Ciudadanos (Citizens) party president Albert Rivera says he supports the announced measures to heal divisions created by the Catalan independence movement and to provide the security companies need to remain in Catalonia
Protesters wave Catalan independence flags as they demonstrate against the Spanish federal government's move to suspend Catalonian autonomy
Protesters wave Catalan independence flags as they demonstrate against the Spanish federal government's move to suspend Catalonian autonomy
A protester holds sign reading 'Freedom for the two Jordis' during a march to protest against the National Court's decision to imprison civil society leaders, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart
A protester holds sign reading 'Freedom for the two Jordis' during a march to protest against the National Court's decision to imprison civil society leaders, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart
A protester holds up an anti-European Union placard during a demonstration
A protester holds up an anti-European Union placard during a demonstration
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (centre) takes part at a march with deputy president Oriol Junqueras
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (centre) takes part at a march with deputy president Oriol Junqueras
Mariano Rajoy imposes direct rule over Catalan government

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Mr Rajoy is also requesting that Puigdemont's government be stripped of its power. 
During this 'exceptional situation', ministers from the central Spanish government would carry out the roles previously occupied by Catalans. 
The Prime Minister confirmed Spain was initiating Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in order to take control of Catalonia. 
He blamed separatists for pushing the government to take the unprecedented measures in Catalonia, which have caused anger even among moderates.
Meanwhile, Spanish authorities are preparing to arrest Catalonia's president and charge him with rebellion if he declares independence. 
The State Attorney General José Manuel Maza confirmed 'a complaint is being prepared for rebellion' against the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and other independence leaders.
The charge of rebellion could see Puigdemont face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty, according to El Pais
During the earlier press conference, Rajoy said: 'It wasn't our wish, nor our intention. It never was and I think the Spanish public opinion as a whole knows this.
'Article 155 is a constitutional article, but it's only invoked in exceptional circumstances. 
Demonstrators march in Barcelona to protest PM decisions

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The State Attorney General José Manuel Maza confirmed on Saturday that 'a complaint is being prepared for rebellion' against the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and other independence leaders
The State Attorney General José Manuel Maza confirmed on Saturday that 'a complaint is being prepared for rebellion' against the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and other independence leaders
Protesters gather in the city center to demonstrate against the Spanish federal government's move to suspend Catalonian autonomy
Protesters gather in the city center to demonstrate against the Spanish federal government's move to suspend Catalonian autonomy
The Spanish government announced measures today it will implement in triggering Article 155
The Spanish government announced measures today it will implement in triggering Article 155
In the streets of Barcelona, banging pots and pans and honking cars greeted Mr Rajoy's announcement
In the streets of Barcelona, banging pots and pans and honking cars greeted Mr Rajoy's announcement
A protester holds sign reading 'Freedom. We want you home' during the march today
A protester holds sign reading 'Freedom. We want you home' during the march today
Protesters carrying signs to demand the release of imprisoned Catalan leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart walk past a Zara clothing
Protesters carrying signs to demand the release of imprisoned Catalan leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart walk past a Zara clothing
A protester carrying an ''estelada'' or Catalonia independence flag shouts during a march to protest against the National Court's decision to imprison civil society leaders
A protester carrying an ''estelada'' or Catalonia independence flag shouts during a march to protest against the National Court's decision to imprison civil society leaders
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