Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited Catalonia for the first time since the central government took control of the region yesterday. While addressing the residents of the area, he urged them to come out in large numbers and stand up for their rights. He told them to fight against those who want to separate from Catalonia by returning the region to what he referred to as normality. This came a day after hundreds of thousands of pro-independence demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelona to demand the release of the leaders of the previous Catalan government that declared independence. The prime minister rejected criticism for jailing the separatist leaders arguing they got what they asked for. He was addressing supporters of his conservative Popular Party in Barcelona. He reminded his supporters that Spain allows people to defend their ideas. He warned that the ideas must be within the rule of law to be defended. Mr. Rajoy declared on 27th October that Catalonia power had been seized by the central government when he invoked article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. This came some few hours after the separatist leaders declared independence for Catalonia. Not only did he dissolve the Catalan parliament, but he also fired the Catalan government. At the same time, he announced that the central government had organized for fresh regional elections on 21st December.
When the Spanish Prime Minister made this announcement, the former leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont arrived in Brussels, Belgium. He is still in Belgium where he is fighting an arrest warrant that wants him to be deported back to Spain with four other leaders where they are expected to stand trial. He is facing the charges of rebellion. Some members of his government have already been jailed after being denied bail. As the people of Catalonia go to the polls on 21st December, there are signs that the independence movement is struggling. For instance, the former leader is having a tough time arriving at an agreement with major parties in the region to form a formidable joint. This is how they managed to acquire a pro-independence ticket last time when the region went to the polls. This was back in 2015. For instance, present Barcelona mayor Ada Colau voted on Sunday to dissolve the coalition. She announced the decision on Twitter saying that it was a difficult decision. She has been very critical to the leaders who support separation from Spain.