Sacked Catalan leader accused of rebellion

Lionel Messi seen in front of Catalonia independence flag during a match of FC Barcelona

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Maza, the attorney-general, also called for Catalonia's leaders to be charged with misuse of funds over the holding of a referendum deemed illegal under the Spanish constitution. So far, Catalan's former leader has insinuated that he won't step down.

Spain's control over Catalonia was being tested on Monday as politicians and civil servants returned to work amid uncertainty over whether they will accept direct rule imposed by the central government.

On Friday, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he had dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap vote for the region under sweeping powers approved by the Senate to stop the secessionist movement.

"In the office, exercising the responsibilities entrusted to us by the people of Catalonia", said Josep Rull, who until last week was the region's top official in charge of territorial affairs.

The European Union has backed the Spanish government in the Catalan independence dispute.

Puigdemont traveled to Brussels, according to a Spanish government an official who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be named in media reports. In the meantime, central government ministries will take over the Catalan administration. [Rajoy] said there would be snap elections on December 21.

"The Catalan president continues to declare himself president and has called for a "democratic opposition" to the Spanish government's takeover of the region".

"I don't know - the Catalan government says they are in charge, but the Spanish government says they are", said Cristina Guillen, an employee in a nearby bag shop.

The uncertainty continues the game of political cat-and-mouse with which the Catalan leader has tormented the national government since he announced nearly two months ago that Catalonia would hold an independence referendum on October 1 - a ballot the government rejected as illegal. "So I have no idea, really".

Work appeared to resume normally in Catalonia on Monday despite Catalan officials defying instructions from Madrid not to turn up for work.



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