Thousands of celebrants have taken to the streets of Barcelona, while Spanish flags are being removed from towns across the surrounding area. After a 70-10 vote in parliament, and a referendum earlier this month, the Republic of Catalonia has been declared.
The declaration of independence fulfills a long-standing ambition of many in Catalonia, which has been struggling for centuries with its status as an autonomous region under Spain. Spain continues to refuse to recognize the declaration.
And it’s likely that Spain, which believes the referendum on independence “doesn’t count,” will act like this declaration didn’t happen as well, with Spain’s Senate approving the prime minister’s request for “emergency” powers to take over Catalonia and revoke all autonomy.
Such a takeover is likely to be a messy matter to even attempt, with the Catalan population already angry over the violent Spanish crackdown on voters during the referendum. Though Spain appears to believe they can simply nationalize the Catalan police and order them to crush what they are describing as “sedition” against the crown.
For now, at least, Catalonia is a de facto Republic, and Barcelona is its capital city. Catalonia was among the wealthiest regions in Spain, and could well be a wealthy republic if it manages to keep its independence. The Catalan Republic borders Spain, France, and tiny Andorra, which itself is a Catalan principality, albeit a much smaller one.