Spain Senate votes to impose direct rule after Catalonia declares independence


World, Europe

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed to 'restore legality' in Catalonia.

Protesters reacts as they watch the parliament session on a huge screen during a rally outside the Catalan Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain. Catalonias' regional Parliament passed a motion Friday to establish an independent Catalan Republic. (Photo: AP)

Madrid/Barcelona: Spain's Senate on Friday voted to grant Madrid powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia, shortly after the semi-autonomous region's parliament approved a motion declaring independence.

The measures allowing Madrid to take control of Catalonia and deposing regional president Carles Puigdemont and his executive were approved with 214 votes in favour, 47 against and one abstention.

Catalonia's parliament had earlier on Friday voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaim a republic.

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 by Madrid and abroad.

Tens of thousands of independence supporters massed near the Catalan parliament cheered with joy. Watching proceedings in parliament on two large screens, they clapped and shouted "independence" in Catalan before singing the regional hymn, many raising their fists.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had later vowed to "restore legality" in Catalonia.