In response to the Catalan move, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government is firing Catalonia’s regional government, dissolving its parliament and calling for a new regional election on Dec. 21. He spoke after a special Cabinet meeting to discuss what measures to take in the wake of the Catalan parliament’s vote to secede from Spain earlier Friday.
Miquel Iceta, the leader of Catalonia’s Socialists, welcomed Rajoy’s announcement of a new election. In a tweet, he wrote “In the most sad day due to a wrong and irresponsible decision by the separatists, we see a ray of light.”
Still, the thousands who came to celebrate Catalonia’s independence declaration didn’t let the Spanish countermove disrupt the festive mood. A band took to the stage immediately after the announcement and the crowd once more began singing and dancing to the music.
The crowd in Sant Jaume Square shouted “we are not moving!”
Spain’s Senate on Friday approved extraordinary measures allowing the central government to impose direct rule on Catalonia following the regional parliament’s vote for independence.
The head of the European Union’s legislature has condemned the Catalan parliament’s vote to declare independence and said it would not be recognized in the EU.
EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani said Friday that the Catalonian parliament’s move was “a breach of the rule of law.” He added that “no one in the European Union will recognize this declaration.”
Germany, Britain and Cyprus are among European countries that have already made clear they back Spanish unity and do not recognize Catalonia’s unilateral declaration to secede. The U.S. State Department also issued a similar statement.