Court annuls Catalan independence

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A woman waves a Spanish flag while singing on the sidelines of a protest as part of a strike called by a pro-independence union in Catalonia. AFP

BARCELONA (Agencies) – Spain’s Constitutional Court officially annulled the Catalan parliament’s October 27 unilateral declaration of independence yesterday, a widely expected ruling after the move was suspended by the court.

The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament hours after the region declared itself independent with 70 votes for, 10 votes against and after lawmakers from three national parties walked out of the vote.

Meanwhile yesterday, protesters blocked roads and train lines across Catalonia, provoking commuter anger in a strike called by a pro-independence union after separatist leaders were detained in Madrid over their divisive secession drive.

More than 50 routes including major motorways were cut, causing widespread disruption in the region.

Huge banners were draped across at least one tunnel in Barcelona, blocking entry, and activists also cut off main roads linking the region of 7.5 million people to France and to Madrid

“Warning. Big problems at the heart of the commuter train system due to an invasion of people and objects on the tracks,” Rodalies de Catalunya, which manages commuter trains in the region, said.

At one protest in Sitges, southwest of Barcelona, demonstrators set up banners, deckchairs and a table-top game of chess as long queues of motorists formed.

A judge in Madrid last week ordered eight separatist politicians to be remanded in custody for their secession drive.

Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who is in Belgium facing extradition to Spain, on Tuesday criticised the EU for backing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the crisis. “Will you accept the result of the Catalan referendum or will you continue to help Mr Rajoy in his coup d’etat?” Mr Puigdemont said.

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