Spain moves to seize control of Catalan state, sacks police chief
A day after Catalan parliament declared independence from Spain, the latter made swift move on Saturday to seize direct control of Catalonia while also sacking its police chief. The incident meanwhile has sent shockwaves across the European continent.
It need be mentioned that the firing of Josep Lluis Trapero, the highest-ranking officer of the Mossos d’Esquadra regional police, follows Friday’s dismissal of Catalonia’s president, his deputy, all ministers, and the entire parliament.
Moving to quash what he termed an “escalation of disobedience”, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called December 21 elections in the region under sweeping powers granted by the Senate in response to Catalan lawmakers voting to declare an independent republic.
The dismissal of Trapero, seen as an ally of his region’s separatist leaders, was announced in Saturday’s official government gazette.
Madrid accuses Trapero of disobeying court orders to block a banned October 1 independence referendum.
Instead, the ballot was disrupted, violently in some cases, by officers from Spain’s national police and Guardia Civil paramilitary forces.
All eyes this weekend will be on whether Catalonia’s separatist executive, led by Carles Puigdemont, will willingly step aside for caretaker envoys from Madrid.
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria is due to meet later with secretaries of state who will likely take charge of Catalonia’s regional ministries.