Expectations that Monday would be a “normal working day” in independent Catalonia after Friday’s declaration of independence appear to have been overly optimistic, as Spanish officials moved to arrest the government’s leadership for “sedition” and “rebellion.”
Spain has been unable to arrest anyone so far, however, as President Carles Puigdemont and a number of members of the cabinet have fled to Brussels, Belgium and are said to be in a “discreet and secure location.”
Spain appears to be in the process of imposing a de facto takeover of Catalonia, but without the mass arrests of the leadership, government attempts to impose a new election that installs a pro-unionist regional government will be tricky.
Lawyers for President Puigdemont say he is undecided on how to proceed as yet, and it appears there are considerations to either form a government-in-exile operating out of Brussels (French Catalonia has also offered to play host), or simply apply for political asylum within Belgium.
How well Spain can impose its rule in Catalonia with or without the arrests remains to be seen, as Catalan voters overwhelmingly supported independence, and Spain’s response is simply that the votes didn’t count.