Catalonia declares independence

Parlament approves resolution to launch constituent process of new republic · Spanish government says it sacks Catalan government, calls "regional" election

Catalan government, MPs and mayors gather in Parliament shortly after proclamation of Catalan Republic.
Catalan government, MPs and mayors gather in Parliament shortly after proclamation of Catalan Republic. Author: Catalan government
The Catalan Parliament today declared independence from Spain as MPs passed in a secret ballot a resolution launching the constituent process of the republic and calling on the Catalan government to build the new state. Pro-independence parliamentary groups Together for Yes and CUP have argued the decision implements the popular mandate of the 1 October independence referendum, in which 90% of voters supported secession. 

Out of 135 MPs in the Catalan Parliament, 70 have supported the declaration of the Catalan Republic, while 10 have voted against and 2 blank votes have been registered. The remaining 53 MPs (belonging to unionist parties Citizens' Party, Socialist Party and Popular Party) have left the chamber before voting started.

Shortly after the proclamation, the Catalan government has defined "the Catalan Republic" as an "independent, sovereign, social state under the rule of law":
As the Catalan Parliament was voting, the Spanish Senate was also considering to pass an authorization to the Spanish government to suspend Catalonia's self-government, relying on article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Few minutes after Catalonia declared independence, the Senate voted in favour of suspending Catalan institutions.

After both events unfolded, president of the European Council Donald Tusk, called on Spain not to retort to the use of force:

Spanish president Mariano Rajoy (PP) has said the proclamation of the Catalan Republic is a "criminal act", and has vowed to "restore legality" in Catalonia through the enforcement of article 155.

Rajoy has this evening explained the first measures taken by his government, after a meeting this afternoon. The Spanish leader has ordered the dismissal of the whole Catalan government, has closed down Catalan foreign delegations, Catalonia's public diplomacy council and other self-government bodies, has ordered the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament, and has called "regional" elections for December 21.

The measures taken by the Spanish authorities are illegal, according to the law of the newly established Catalan Republic.

Spanish opposition leader Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) has supported Rajoy's stance, and has deemed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and vice-president Oriol Junqueras responsible for "fracturing" and "tearing" Catalan society:
Independence supporters cheer in streets

Immediately after the vote count ended, thousands of independence supporters started to chant and cheer in the streets of Barcelona, welcoming the proclamation of the Catalan Republic.
In Barcelona's central square Plaça de Sant Jaume, pro-independence grassroots group Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is having a music party to welcome the birth of the Catalan Republic:

ANC president Jordi Sànchez and pro-independence group Òmnium leader Jordi Cuixart are imprisoned since 16 October in Soto del Real (Madrid, Spain) by order of Spain's exceptional high court, the Audiencia Nacional, under charges of sedition.