>> Pro-independence Catalans standing by their leaders after Spain's Prime Minister announced on Saturday he would use constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force a new election. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says the region will not accept Madrid's plans for direct rule.>> The Spanish government and the support of the Socialist Party and Citizen's Party has undertaken the worst attack on the institutions and people of Catalonia since the decree's of the military dictator Francisco Franco.
>> It's the first time since Spain's return to democracy that the central government has used his powers to seize control of a regional administration. But Rajoy could not impose direct rule until Spain's upper House of Parliament authorizes it. The decision is scheduled to be made next Friday. The plans come almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum.
Spain's Supreme Court had declared the vote illegal, and said it violated the constitution. Carlos Puigdemont ignored the deadline on Thursday to drop succession. And did a protest to the plans and a detention of two pro-independence leaders on Saturday stopped short of saying he'd push ahead with the independence speech.
But Catalan media says Puigdemont could dissolve the regional parliaments and call elections by next Friday, meaning under Catalan law those elections would take place within two months. That would enable Puigdemont to go to the polls earlier than envisioned by Rajoy who says it would be in a six month time frame, allowing the Catalan leader to exploit the anti-Madrid sentiment running high in the region.