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Catalan parliament votes to declare independence, Spain strikes back with direct rule

Catalonia's parliament voted Friday to "create a Catalan republic as an independent state," marking a major escalation of ongoing tensions between Madrid and the autonomous region that overwhelmingly voted earlier this month for independence, The New York Times reports.

Spanish courts ruled that the Oct. 1 independence vote was illegal according to the national constitution, and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has so far refused to explore conversations about the region's potential secession. On Friday, Rajoy received approval from the national Senate to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows him to impose direct rule on Catalonia, after Rajoy claimed there was "no alternative," the BBC reports.