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Ousted Catalan leader vows to fight Spain's takeover

Ousted Catalan leader vows to fight Spain's takeover

Tens of thousands celebrated in Barcelona and other Catalan cities after Friday's independence declaration, which analysts say the region has no legal power to execute.

Saturday saw the government in Madrid remove Catalonia's autonomy and take over government functions in the region.

Officials in Europe are speaking out against Catalonia's declaration of independence.

"The best way to defend what we have achieved to date is democratic opposition to the application of article 155", Carles Puigdemont said in a televised statement, referring to the constitutional article that gives Madrid the takeover powers, adding he and his team would keep working "to build a free country".

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The measures came after Catalonia's separatist-led parliament voted to declare independence from Spain on Friday.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Saturday said he refused to recognize the dismissal of the Catalan government by Madrid and called for resistance to direct rule by Madrid.

"They have led 2 million Catalans to believe in independence, so it's a big problem to tell them now that it's actually hard to build a state when Spain has the upper hand of the law on its side", Dowling said.

There was no immediate response from the top Catalan officials.

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"I'm quite sure that if Puigdemont takes part in these elections, he can exercise this democratic opposition", he said, quoted by Reuters.

A poll published by Spanish national newspaper El Pais on Saturday suggests more Catalans (52% to 43%) are in favour of the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of elections.

Catalonia is one of Spain's richest, most distinctive regions, with a high degree of autonomy.

Some among Catalonia's roughly 200,000 civil servants have said they will refuse to obey orders 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. Following the declaration of independence, Spain's Senate voted to invoke article 155 of the Constitution and thus impose direct rule on Catalonia by dissolving local parliament and firing the devolved government. Only the director of the Catalan regional police, who was also fired, issued a statement saying he would comply.

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