Spain has announced on Thursday it would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy from Saturday, as the region’s leader threatens to declare independence.
The Spanish government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.
Catalans voted to secede in a referendum outlawed by Spain. Spain’s supreme court declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution.
Article 155 of the constitution, which cemented democratic rule three years after the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975, allows Madrid to impose direct rule in a crisis but it has never been invoked.
The past days Catalonia‘s regional president told a meeting of his party he would formally declare independence if Spain starts the process of suspending the autonomy.
Amid the new developments, some voiced concern that the latest moves could spark further mass protests, like the ones preceding and following the ballot on October 1.