The Guardian

Spain to impose direct rule as Catalonia leader refuses to back down

Madrid will press ahead with suspending autonomy on Saturday after Catalan leader refuses to abandon independence push
An independence campaigner holds a placard saying ‘Freedom – we want you back home’ at a rally in Barcelona. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

The Spanish government is to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s president refused to abandon the push for independence that has triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis for 40 years.

The announcement of the unprecedented measure came after the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, threatened a unilateral declaration of independence if the Spanish government did not agree to talks on the issue.

In a statement on Thursday morning, the Spanish government said Puigdemont had ignored its calls to drop his independence plans and had once again failed to confirm whether independence

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