Catalonia’s ill-fated bid for independence from Spain

On October 1 Catalonia held an illegal referendum on seceding from Spain. The Spanish Central government sent in the national guard to prevent voters from reaching the ballot boxes; violence ensued. Protestors have rocked the streets of Barcelona in the weeks since that vote. First came the secessionists, then came those asking for dialogue, and finally an enormous number of people calling themselves the “silent majority” demanded to remain with Spain. But on Friday, October 27, the Catalan parliament unilaterally declared independence from Madrid. In response Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy triggered a never-before-used article of the constitution – article 155 – which allowed the central government to dissolve the Catalan regional parliament, fire the politicians in power, and call for new elections.