The Madrid government sacks Catalonia’s president and dismisses its parliament, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago. Samantha Vadas reports
A night of celebration on the streets of Barcelona after Catalonia declared itself an independent nation on Friday (October 27). But as ecstatic supporters sung their goodbye tune to Spain, waving flags and letting off fireworks, Madrid made a swift response to the breakaway state, sacking Catalonia's president. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: "Today I have dissolved the parliament of Catalonia and have called for elections for December 21 in that region." The Spanish Senate had earlier approved imposing direct rule on Catalonia and a special cabinet meeting confirmed exactly what that would entail. As well as removing Carles Puigdemont from the helm, Rajoy also fired the autonomous region's police chief and said central government ministries would take over the Catalan administration. It's the worst political crisis in Spain in decades. And as independence backers partied well into the night, undeterred by Madrid's move, supporters of the Spanish government also took to the streets. Several countries, including France, Germany, and the United States have rejected the independence declaration, saying they support Rajoy's efforts to preserve Spain's unity.