Catalonia declares independence from Spain, thousands cheer

Catalonia's regional parliament passed a motion Friday to establish an independent Catalan Republic, voting to secede from Spain after an acrimonious debate that saw opposition lawmakers walk out in protest before the vote. The vote in Barcelona came after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy delivered an impassioned speech in Madrid, urging the country's Senate to grant his government special constitutional measures that would allow it to take control of Catalonia's autonomous powers and halt the region's independence bid. The vote was approved with 70 in favor of independence, 10 against and two blank ballots in Catalonia's 135-member parliament. Rajoy immediately called for calm despite the vote, which Spain is deeply set against. No country in the world has expressed support for independence for Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain that has 7.5 million people.

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST 7 Photos
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People celebrate after Catalonia's parliament voted to declare independence from Spain in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP Photo)

People celebrate after Catalonia's parliament voted to declare independence from Spain in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic, just as Madrid is poised to impose direct rule on the region to stop it in its tracks. (REUTERS)

Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic, just as Madrid is poised to impose direct rule on the region to stop it in its tracks. (REUTERS)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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A motion declaring independence was approved with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and two abstentions, with Catalan opposition MPs walking out of the 135-seat chamber before the vote in protest at a declaration unlikely to be given official recognition. (AFP Photo)

A motion declaring independence was approved with 70 votes in favour, 10 against and two abstentions, with Catalan opposition MPs walking out of the 135-seat chamber before the vote in protest at a declaration unlikely to be given official recognition. (AFP Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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Catalan President Carles Puigdemont smiles after the Catalan regional Parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona, October 27, 2017. (REUTERS)

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont smiles after the Catalan regional Parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona, October 27, 2017. (REUTERS)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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People walk past signs reading, ‘Congratulations Catalonia. Now The Basque Country’, following a unilateral declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, in the Basque town of Guernica, Spain. (REUTERS)

People walk past signs reading, ‘Congratulations Catalonia. Now The Basque Country’, following a unilateral declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, in the Basque town of Guernica, Spain. (REUTERS)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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Protesters hold fake handcuffs as they take part a rally outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo)

Protesters hold fake handcuffs as they take part a rally outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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Demonstrators hold up banners reading ‘Freedom’ in reference to the jailed leaders of Catalan pro-independence movements ANC (Catalan National Assembly) and Omnium Cutural, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, near the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona, Spain. (REUTERS)

Demonstrators hold up banners reading ‘Freedom’ in reference to the jailed leaders of Catalan pro-independence movements ANC (Catalan National Assembly) and Omnium Cutural, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, near the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona, Spain. (REUTERS)

UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2017 08:26 PM IST
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