The central government in Madrid have removed Catalonia's autonomous powers today (October 28) after the Catalan parliament voted to Declare Independence yesterday (October 27). The announcement to dissolve the parliament was made by Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, yesterday, following the declaration. Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, has been removed from power as Madrid seeks to impose direct rule on the region for the first time since 1979.

The latest developments

Catalonia has been taking steps towards independence since a referendum held on October 1st came out in overwhelming support for independence (92 percent for, although there was only a turnout of approximately 43 percent).

The referendum grabbed headlines due to numerous instances of police brutality towards those trying to vote. The central government has never recognized the referendum as official, but this hasn't stopped the Catalan Parliament from moving forward.

Yesterday, the parliament voted to declare independence, a move that was met with wide celebration from the millions of pro-independence supporters in the region. However, the mood soon soured as both the leader of Catalan parliament and the chief of Catalan's autonomous police force (Mossos d'Esquadra), Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez, were removed from power. Mossos came under fire during the referendum period for supposedly failing to help the national Guardia Civil deal with the pro-independence supporters.

What will happen next?

Spain's deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, has been placed in charge of Catalonia and snap regional elections have been called to find new representatives.

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These are expected to be held on December 21st. However, Puigdemont has today called for resistance towards the newly implemented measures and promises to provide "democratic opposition" to the changes. He further stated that the central government was "acting contrary to the expressed will of the citizens."

A ten-day general strike has been called in the region to start on Monday (October 30) and widespread dissent is expected from civil servants and other pro-independence governmental figures. There are likely to be continued demonstrations across Spain in the near future, from both sides of the debate. Many pro-independence supporters now believe that the parliament's declaration has removed them Spain's rule. The Spanish constitutional court, however, is likely to continue to deny the legality of Catalonia's independence. Internationally, the EU and its key members have all expressed support for Spanish unity, so it is going to be an uphill struggle for separatists.