Minutes later the Spanish Senate enacted Article 155 of the constitution, which allows Madrid to take direct control of Catalonia, dismiss separatist leaders and trigger regional elections.
“We have won the freedom to construct our country… Viva Catalonia and Viva the Republic,” said Oriol Junqueras, Catalan vice-president, after the vote, despite Madrid’s moves to impose direct rule.
In the secret vote in Barcelona, which most opposition lawmakers boycotted, 70 lawmakers voted in favor of independence as a consequence of a controversial referendum held Oct. 1 and Spain’s subsequent actions, including the suspension of home rule.
“I ask for calm from every Spaniard. The Rule of Law will restore legality in Catalonia,” tweeted Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy immediately following the vote in Catalonia.
Shortly after, Spain’s senate enacted Article 155 of Spain’s constitution. After being officially written in the official State Bulletin, it will give Madrid control of Catalan institutions and allow it to dismiss separatist leaders and call regional elections.
The EU has already indicated it will not recognize unilateral declarations of independence. President of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted: "For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favors force of argument, not argument of force."
Despite the uncertainty of what Friday's declaration of independence will mean in practice, celebrations are underway in parts of Catalonia, including in the parliament. Separatist groups have called on supporters to fill the streets.
This is the fifth time in Catalonia’s history that it has declared some form of independence from Spain.
In the case of a unilateral declaration of independence, Spanish prosecutors reportedly told local media that they will not only charge Catalan President Carles Puigdemont with rebellion, but all lawmakers who participated in the vote.