Spain asserted direct rule over Catalonia on Saturday and dismissed separatist leaders a day after the region’s parliament declared independence. According to special measures announced by Madrid’s government, the Catalan parliament will now be dissolved and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont dismissed. A new regional election has been set for Dec. 21. Puigdemont and the Catalan Cabinet will now no longer be paid and could face charges if they refuse to honor the measures. Puigdemont on Saturday declined to say whether he’d step down but called on citizens to peacefully oppose Madrid’s rule, saying it runs “contrary to the expressed will of the citizens of our country.” According to a decree issued by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Josep Lluís Trapero, head of the regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, has also been sacked. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria will now officially have control of the region, which has been involved in a tense standoff with Madrid ever since a disputed Oct. 1 independence referendum.
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