Catalonia Independence: Rajoy Dissolves Catalan Parliament
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is dissolving the Catalan parliament and calling snap elections after MPs there voted to declare independence.
Mr. Rajoy said the unprecedented imposition of direct rule on Catalonia was essential to "recover normality".
He is also firing Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet.
The crisis began when Catalonia held an independence referendum, despite it being deemed illegal by the constitutional court.
The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favour of independence.
This is the moment Catalonia declared independence from Spain today. Parliamentary votes are being read out. Si = yes, No = no. pic.twitter.com/gsakkaSOOA— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 27, 2017
What did the Spanish PM say?
Mr Rajoy made his announcement following a frantic day of developments in the row over Catalan independence.
On Friday the Spanish Senate granted Mr Rajoy's government the power to impose direct rule on Catalonia, and after an emergency cabinet meeting Mr Rajoy spelled out what that would entail.
"The president [Carles Puigdemont] had the opportunity to return to legality and to call elections," he said.
"It is what the majority of the Catalonian people asked for - but he didn't want to do it. So the government of Spain is taking the necessary measures to return to legality."
Elections are scheduled for 21 December. Mr Rajoy also announced the sacking of the Catalan police chief.
What happened in the Catalan parliament?
A motion declaring independence was approved on Friday with 70 in favour, 10 against, and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber. Several opposition MPs boycotted the vote.
Afterwards, thousands took to the streets in Barcelona to celebrate, and Spanish flags were removed from some regional government buildings.
Separatists say the move means they no longer fall under Spanish jurisdiction.
But the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the EU, the US, the UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity.