Catalonia Scares Madrid with Civil Disobedience

Thousands protest power transfer from Barcelona to Madrid

"Prime Minister Rajoy wants the parliament of Catalonia to stop being a democratic parliament, and we will not allow this to happen", Carme Forcadell said in a televised speech, as cited by Reuters.

The plan, which requires parliamentary approval, is Madrid's bid to resolve the country's worst political crisis in four decades, but it risks an angry reaction from independence supporters, who planned street protests later in the day.

The Spanish Senate will meet on Friday to ratify Article 155.

The Omnium Cultural Association spokesman, Marcel Mauri, told the protesters at the rally that Madrid's decision to take powers from the Catalan authorities had "destroyed democracy".

Apart from stripping Carles Puigdemont of all his powers, the central government will also seek to take control of Catalonia's local police force and its public broadcaster, TV3, reports suggest.

"The big question for me, really, is how Madrid is actually going to implement its proposed actions in Catalonia", said Caroline Gray, a lecturer in politics and Spanish at Aston University in the United Kingdom who specializes in nationalist movements.

In accordance with article 155, central government intends to remove regional government from its office and to set a reelection within six months.

"Our objective is to restore the law and a normal cohabitation among citizens, which has deteriorated a lot; continue with the economic recovery, which is under threat today in Catalonia, and celebrate elections in a situation of normality", he said.

Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, also joined the protest to express her criticism of the actions of the central government.

Puigdemont made a symbolic declaration of independence on October 10, and on Thursday he threatened to press ahead with a more formal one unless the government agreed to a dialogue.

Earlier, Romeva said the European Union would "lose credibility" if it allowed Madrid to impose its direct rule over the region, and added that "only the Catalan people have the right to replace regional institutions".

However, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull said this was not an option. The party said in a statement that a takeover by Madrid would be considered "an aggression". "Not a single step back". Of the 43 percent of Catalans reported to have taken part, around 90 percent are believed to have voted in favor of independence.

The Spanish Senate is expected to approve the government's measures on Friday along with a proposal for fresh regional elections. "None!" said socialist leader Pedro Sanchez. He also made a call in English for worldwide support: "Help Catalonia, save Spain, save Europe". Hundreds of companies have shifted their headquarters outside the region and Madrid has made downward revisions to its economic forecasts. Rajoy on Saturday urged firms to stay in the region.

"I have no doubt that all civil servants in Catalonia will keep following the instructions provided by the elected and legitimate institutions that we have right now in place", Romeva added. "Catalan government officials and many within the Mossos and Catalan media are not just going to stand down without a fight".

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