Ousted Catalan leader vows peaceful resistance
Catalonia's ousted leader called for peaceful opposition to Spain's decision to take direct control of the region, saying yesterday that he and other regional officials fired by the central government would keep "working to build a free country."
Carles Puigdemont's comments, made in a recorded televised address that was broadcast as he sat in a cafÈ in his hometown of Girona, were a veiled refusal to accept his Cabinet's dismissal as ordered by central authorities.
They came a day after one of the most tumultuous days in Spain's recent history, when Catalan lawmakers in Barcelona passed a declaration of independence last Friday for the prosperous north eastern region, and the national parliament in Madrid approved unprecedented constitutional measures to halt the secessionist drive.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election to be held on December 21.
In his televised statement, Puigdemont said that only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalan government, vowing to "continue working to build a free country".
"The best way we have to defend the achievements to date is the democratic opposition to the application of Article 155," Puigdemont said in reference to the constitutional clause that gave Madrid direct control of affairs in Catalonia.
Despite his defiant tone and the use of the official Catalan government emblem, the Catalan and European Union flags but no sign of the Spanish one, some political commentators saw his mention of "democratic opposition" as laying the groundwork for political campaigning for the regional election in less than two months.