Spain to impose direct rule over Catalonia in bombshell move as cops prepare to arrest Catalan leader

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CATALONIA’S government is on the verge of being sacked after the Spanish prime minister requested special powers to impose direct rule and remove its regional authority.

Mariano Rajoy needs the permission of Spain’s parliament to exercise the powers which he wants to use to curb the region’s power, dissolve the government, and call a national election within six months.

 Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has requested powers to dissolve Catalonia's government

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Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has requested powers to dissolve Catalonia’s government

The decision follows a partial referendum held in the eastern region of the country earlier this month that saw violence break out as police dragged voters out of polling stations.

If approved, Mr Rajoy said his actions would restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens.

The constitutional powers have never been used before and is an attempt to stop Catalonia from breaking away.

Mr Rajoy, who unveiled the plans after a meeting of his cabinet, will gain popular approval for his actions if he wins the proposed election.

His government’s attorney general said they were prepared to arrest the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, if he declared independence for the region.

The unofficial referendum on October 1 saw nearly half of Catalan citizens turn out and vote overwhelmingly in support of independence.

Earlier today a spokeswoman for Spain’s constitutional court said its website has been hacked.

The cyber attack is thought to be part of a web campaign called ‘Operation Free Catalonia’ launched by online activist group Anonymous.

She said it only affected the court’s website and no internal information was compromised.

Yesterday Spain’s national security department said an undisclosed number of government websites had been hit in recent weeks with slogans supporting independence for the region.

In a YouTube video posted by an account linked to Anonymous, the group announced actions that would be rolled out on Saturday as part of ‘Operation Free Catalonia’.

People celebrate as polling stations close in banned Catalonia independence referendum

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