In Catalonia Key events since country's independence vote

Here are the key events in the Catalonia crisis since a regional referendum on splitting from Spain.

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Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Barcelona Sunday to defend Spanish unity play

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Barcelona Sunday to defend Spanish unity

(AFP/File)
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Here are the key events in the Catalonia crisis since a regional referendum on splitting from Spain.

October 1: Violence-hit referendum

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans vote in an independence referendum held despite a court ban deeming it unconstitutional.

Spanish riot police try to block the vote. Shocking footage emerges of them using batons and rubber bullets on crowds.

The Catalan government says 90 percent of those who voted backed independence, but turnout was only 43 percent.

October 3: General strike

A strike disrupts Barcelona's port, transport and some businesses. Up to 700,000 people demonstrate against police violence.

King Felipe VI accuses Catalan leaders of threatening Spain's stability and urges the state to defend "constitutional order".

October 5: Business exodus

Banco Sabadell, Catalonia's second largest bank, announces it will shift its registered domicile out of the region. About 1,700 companies follow suit.

October 7-8: Mass protests

Tens of thousands of people demonstrate across Spain on October 7, some demanding unity, others dialogue. The next day hundreds of thousands march in Barcelona to back unity.

- October 10: 'Suspended' independence declaration

A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels play

A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels

(AFP/File)

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his separatist allies sign a declaration of independence, but say they are suspending its implementation to allow for time for negotiations with Madrid.

The next day, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gives Puigdemont until October 16 to clarify his stance.

October 16: Separatists detained

Puigdemont refuses to clarify whether he had declared independence and instead calls for dialogue. Madrid gives him an extended deadline of October 19 to say whether he is planning to secede.

A court orders the leaders of two powerful grassroots independence groups, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, to be detained pending an investigation into sedition charges.

October 21: Spain to sack Catalan government

Rajoy announces drastic steps to halt the breakaway, employing previously unused constitutional powers to seek the dismissal of Puigdemont's government and new regional elections.

Puigdemont accuses Rajoy of "the worst attack on institutions and Catalan people" since Spain's dictatorship and turns down an invitation to address the Senate to state his case for independence.

October 26: No regional elections

Puigdemont says he considered calling elections to stave off the central government's takeover bid, but received "no guarantees" to make this possible.

October 27: Takeover vs independence

Catalan lawmakers approve by a narrow majority to declare an independent republic. Supporters stage mass street celebrations.

The Senate grants Madrid powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia.

Rajoy announces he has dissolved the Catalan parliament and removed Puigdemont and his executive from office. He calls regional elections for December 21.

October 28: Madrid fires police chief

Spain moves to assert direct control over the region, formally removing top officials including Puigdemont and Josep Lluis Trapero, the chief of Catalonia's regional police, the Mossos d'Esquadra.

Puigdemont calls for "democratic opposition" to direct rule.

October 29: Pro-unity Barcelona rally

Hundreds of thousands of protesters rally in Barcelona, chanting "Viva Espana!" and urging national unity while demanding "Prison for Puigdemont."

October 30: Puigdemont travels to Belgium

Facing possible charges of rebellion, Puigdemont travels to Belgium. His party says it will stand in the December 21 regional election.

October 31: Puidgemont summoned to court

Puigdemont tells a news conference in Brussels he is not seeking asylum in Belgium but is there "for safety purposes and freedom" as Spain's top criminal court summons him for questioning.

November 2: Spain seeks custody for Catalan leaders

Spanish prosecutors call for eight former separatist members of Catalonia's government, including its vice-president, to be detained.

Puigdemont does not turn up in court and prosecutors seek an EU warrant for his arrest.

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