It's very easy to look at the situation from the outside, declare the Catalan independence declaration illegal and say "that's that". However, inside Catalonia, the declaration was very popular amongst a significant portion of the population.

In reaction, Madrid has declared the independence referendum illegal, suspended the government and removed key Catalonian government officials and civil servants from office.

On the ground in Catalonia, how much are these orders being followed? Is it the opinion of the Catalonian people that they are still under Madrid's rule or that their independence was successful, so they don't need to obey Madrid anymore? Obviously, there will be people on both sides, since there were many Catalonians who wanted to remain part of Spain. Have the people removed from office complied, or are they still doing their jobs because they have the support of the locals?

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    Are independence declarations ever not illegal? Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 22:23
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    @immibis If the referendum was recognised by Spain and their constitution allowed for it, it would have been legal. However, this is moot since neither of those this exist in this situation.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 22:25
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    Just pointing out that very few countries would ever permit it in their constitution. To a first approximation, all independences are illegal, so the fact this one is also illegal should make on difference. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 22:28
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    @immibis Britain allowed Scotland's referendum, and had it been "Yes", no doubt would have allowed it to separate. So "ever"? Yes, sometimes. There are examples where independence was actually achieved legally.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 23:01
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    Croatia and other former Yugoslavian republics were given independence rights in Yugoslavian constitution. But still the rest of the EU said it is Yugoslavian internal affair instead of stopping the bloody war that began. But later example Kosovo which did not have that constitutional right separated and EU and USA stood on Kosovo's side.
    – croraf
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


It is weekend and most of the local administration is not working, so it is difficult to tell. And even on Monday, it will depend of what orders are issued. But so far:

1I have been through several strikes in Spain and I can tell you that asking people to lose like half month of pay in a strike would be like asking them to throw themselves down a cliff.


The main political situations happened on Friday afternoon, so it needed some days in order to have working hours and see the position of each key member.

Let me summarize the events that have taken place, in the hope that a timeline of almost-simultaneous actions can shed more light:

So as of writing, the Catalan government has been fired for the whole Saturday, together with the main leader of the Catalan police (in Spanish, Zoido cesa a Trapero a los 20 minutos de estrenar sus competencias en Cataluña). However, by 14 h Carles Puigdemont has called for "democratic opposition" to direct rule from Madrid, meaning that he does not accept the takeover. Also, he vows 'peaceful resistance' as Madrid takes control of region. From this linked article in The Guardian:

Activists had offered to form human chains around buildings to protect officials, and some of the region’s 200,000 civil servants have already said they will not accept orders from Madrid.

One Catalan union has called a 10-day strike in support of the new republic starting on Monday, although larger trade bodies have not so far joined.

So by now, and in the days to come, there will be a conflict on legitimacy: some will follow Spanish law, while some will follow Catalan law. This also means that some will accept elections in December as applying to the Autonomous Region, while others may even not take part because they do not recognise their call.

By Monday and Tuesday several actions by main parties and associations revealed that Catalonia is complying with Madrid:

On the other side, the other independentist party, CUP, asked the president to keep on working in the disconnection with Spain while asking for Republican action.

(See a description of the three main independentist parties in Catalonia)

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