Catalan parliament declares independence from Spain

Pro-independence supporters cheer and wave "estelada" or pro independence flags gathered in the square outside the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain. Source: AAP

Catalonia's parliament voted Friday to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic, just as Madrid is poised to impose direct rule on the semi-autonomous region to stop it in its tracks.

A motion declaring independence was approved with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and two abstentions, with Catalan opposition MPs walking out of the 135-seat chamber before the vote in protest at a declaration unlikely to be given official recognition by Madrid and abroad.

Fresh from a parliamentary session on Friday that declared independence from Spain, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont urged supporters to "maintain the momentum" in a peaceful manner, as Madrid was poised to impose direct rule on the region.

"You will have to maintain the momentum of this country in the coming hours, particularly where peace, civic responsibility and dignity are concerned," he told lawmakers and onlookers in Barcelona.

Spain's Senate on Friday voted to grant Madrid powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia, shortly after the semi-autonomous region's parliament approved a motion declaring independence.

The measures allowing Madrid to take control of Catalonia and deposing regional president Carles Puigdemont and his executive were approved with 214 votes in favour, 47 against and one abstention.


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