Spanish government moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia on Friday, stripping the region of its autonomy less than an hour after its parliament declared independence in a stunning show of defiance. Kate King reports.
For these people, the moment will last forever even if the movement may not. The time Catalonia voted to declare independence from Spain. Like a red rag to a bull, Catalonia's antagonised parliament held a secret ballot - at the same time the Spanish government was voting to impose direct rule over the seccesionist region. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER, MARIANO RAJOY SAYING: "Spain is a serious country and a great nation and we will not tolerate anyone who tries to liquidate our constitution." Catalonia is one of Spain's most prosperous regions and has a high degree of autonomy. Under the Spanish government's ruling - most of those powers will cease. One of the first moves will likely see Catalan's president and ministers sacked and the Spanish government will assume direct supervision of the police. But independence supporters remain defiant. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CATALAN INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTER SAYING: "I can't explain my feelings, I never thought this day would come, so thank you to the brave people who made it happen." The economic ripples started well before Friday. Local media say more than 1500 companies have switched their headquarters out of Catalonia, inluding several banks and the main water provider. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHARLES STANLEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT COMMENTATOR, GARRY WHITE, SAYING: "The EU are desperate not to get involved but it may come to stage further down the line where they have to because of the intransigence that has come into the situation, so ultimately I think they are going to have to come in and mediate, but they don't really want to be seen as heavy handed." There are many uknowns ahead. As one Catalan supporter told Reuters, Freedom - is never free.