Catalan Crisis Timeline from September 2017


  • 6 September
    Laws on referendum and legal transition adopted by Catalan parliament by a narrow majority, amidst much criticism from non-independentist parties due to “unlawfulness” of parliamentary procedure followed. These laws are rapidly suspended by Spanish constitutional court.


  • 9 September. El Vallenc newspaper raided by Spanish police searching for referendum-linked materials.

  • 11 September pro-independence demonstration: 1 million participants in Barcelona.

  • 14 September. 700 Catalan mayors to be questioned in court over local pro-independence resolutions.

  • 16 September. Numerous printing presses in Catalonia raided by Spanish police.

  • 20 September. Catalan government ministries are raided, 14 Catalan senior government officials arrested. A peaceful protest follows in front of Ministry for the Economy, where Guardia Civil vehicles are abandoned, surrounded by the crowd for 12 hours. They ultimately suffer some damages.

  • 20 September. Spanish government takes control of Catalan government bank accounts and attempts to take control of Catalan police.

  • 21 September. 10 million ballots seized by Spanish police.

  • 26 September. 140 websites closed by Guardia Civil.

  • 28 September. Spanish police reinforcements sent to Catalonia reach 10,000 figure.

  • 1 October 2017
    Referendum is held. Spanish riot police attack polling stations and voters. By the end of day the recount stands as follows:
    Participation: 2.286.217 million voters (43% census)
    Yes vote: 2.044 million voters (90.18%)
    No vote: 177,547 (.83%)
    Blank: 44,913 (1.98%)
    Over 900 voters injured by police (medically certified)
    Polling stations where 700,000 voters were registered were closed by the police


  • 3 October. General strike and protests condemning police brutality (700,000 in Barcelona). King Felipe speaks on television, scolding Catalan government.

  • 6 October 2017. Spanish government passes express decree-law to facilitate corporations moving legal HQs away from Catalonia. Most of the biggest corporates headquartered in Catalonia change their legal head offices (not operational HQs) over the following days and weeks.

  • 7 October. Leaders of pro-independence civil society organisations, Sánchez and Cuixart, and head of Catalan police, Trapero, questioned by prosecutor and judge in Madrid in relation to events on 20 September.

  • 8 October. Spanish pro-unity march gathers 350,000 in Barcelona.

  • 9 October. Catalan parliament session. Puigdemont announces there is a mandate from referendum but suspends its application to give a chance to dialogue with Spain.

  • 11 October. Rajoy rejects mediation and announces article 155 of the constitution, which suspends self-rule, will be triggered. Presents Puigdemont with ultimatum to clarify whether independence has been declared or not. Only a negative answer will prevent art.155

  • 16 October. Sánchez, Cuixart and Trapero questioned again in Madrid by judge Lamela. Sánchez and Cuixart charged with sedition (up to 15 years) and remanded in custody pending trial.

  • 16 October. Puigdemont does not yield to ultimatum and asks again for dialogue. Socialist Party says it will now support art.155

  • 17 October. Protests all over Catalonia. 200,000 carrying candles in Barcelona demanding release of Sánchez and Cuixart.

  • 20 October. Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Junker receive Príncipe de Asturias award from King Felipe

  • 21 October. Rajoy announces the measures to be taken will in application of article 155, which include: removing the Catalan government, restricting parliamentary activity, removing head of Catalan police, taking control of telecommunications, intervening Catalan public TV, disbanding Catalan diplomatic service, and calling elections within 6 months.

  • 21 October. 450,000 Catalans call for release of Cuixart and Sánchez in Barcelona

  • 24 October. Spanish government says article 155 will be applied regardless of whether Puigdemont calls elections before or not.

  • 27 October. In simultaneous sessions, Catalan parliament votes to declare independence while Spanish senate votes on application of art. 155, which is supported by Popular Party, Socialist Party and Ciudadanos. Podemos and the Catalan and Basque parties oppose it. Rajoy calls Catalan elections to be held on 21 December

  • 29 October. Spanish pro-unity rally gathers 300,000 in Barcelona.

  • 30 October. State prosecutor presents charges of rebellion (up to 30 years), sedition, embezzlement, disobedience and prevarication against members of deposed government and Catalan parliament bureau.

  • 30 October. Puigdemont and four of his ousted ministers hold press conference in Brussels.

  • 2 November. Eight ministers who did not travel to Brussels questioned in court in Madrid and put in preventive custody under charges of rebellion (up to 30 years), sedition, embezzlement, prevarication and disobedience.

  • 3 November. Constitutional Court rejects Catalan government appeal against application of Article 155.

  • 3 November. Judge Lamela issues European arrest warrant for Puigdemont and four deposed ministers who are in Brussels.

  • 5 November. Puigdemont and ministers questioned by Belgian prosecutor in Brussels. They are released pending hearings to determine whether extradition to Spain will follow.

  • 7 November. 200 Catalan mayors visit Puigdemont in Brussels and hold protest.

  • 9 November. Strike across Catalonia, with thousands of volunteers from the “Committees for the Defence of the Republic” blocking key roads and infrastructure. No major incidents are reported.

  • 10 November. Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, breaks coalition agreement in the city with Socialist Party, due to its support for Article 155.

  • 11 November. Over 750,000 march in Barcelona demanding release of political prisoners.

  • 13 November. Spanish government informs EU partners about “Russian meddling” in Catalan crisis.15 September. Barcelona town hall to use yellow lighting in fountains and public buildings to request release of political prisoners.

  • 16 November.  Jailed ANC (Catalan National Assembly) leader, Jordi Cruixart, to run on Puigdemont’s list for Catalan elections called by Rajoy for 21 December.There shall be separate electoral formations by the two major forces making up the JuntspelSí former government and parliamentary majority, ERC and PDeCat (Puigemont’s party). Puigdemont will lead a candidacy integrating civil society leaders while ERC, whose leader and deposed Catalan vicepresiden, Oriol Junqueras, is in provisional detention pending charges of rebellion, will run under its traditional name.

  • 17 November. Marta Rovira, new leader of ERC (as Junqueras in prison) reports on threats of use of violence by Spanish government on days leading up to declaration of independence on 27 September.

  • 18 November. Spanish chief state prosecutor, Jose Manuel Maza, dies unexpectedly of kidney infection while on trip to Buenos Aires. Maza had led the judicial offensive against the Catalan independence movement and in recent days had been said to be going further than the government desired. He had been in the job for a year.

  • 20 November. Over 1000 intellectuals and academics sign petition requesting release of political prisoners.

  • 23 November. 109 University professors specialising in criminal law sign manifesto saying that there is no legal basis for the charges of sedition and rebellion brought against members of Catalan government and social leaders.

  • 24 November. Supreme Court magistrate Llanera to take case against Catalan ministers and social leaders from Audiencia Nacional judge Lamela. Case of former chief of Catalan police Trapero to remain at Audiencia Nacional.

  • 3 December. 10,000 musicians gather in concert to demand release of political prisoners.

  • 4 December. Supreme Court judge Llarena, who is now in charge of all Catalan government cases, releases 6 ousted Catalan ministers but keeps 2 in jail, including VicePresident Junqueras, who is leading candidate for ERC in upcoming elections, and Interior Minister Forn. Social leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez accused of sedition are also kept in custody on grounds that they could be responsible for a “violent explosion” if released.

  • 5 December. Judge Llarena withdraws European Detention Warrant and International Detention Order for Puigdemont and 4 Catalan ministers currently in Brussels before Belgian courts took a decision on extradition on 14 December. Foreseeably extradition would not have been granted on main charges of rebellion and sedition, and only possibly for lesser crime of misappropriation. Spanish judge thus preventing an international defeat for Spanish judiciary and subsequent limitation on trial conditions in Spain. Arrest warrant within Spain, however, remains.

  • 7 December. 45,000 demonstrate in Brussels calling for Europe to Wake Up, and demanding release of political prisoners. Most protesters have travelled from Catalonia for the occasion, taking advantage of a public holiday.

  • 11 December. The Spanish Supreme Court requests that Marta Rovira, the most visible candidate of Esquerra in the run up to the 21 December election (as its leader and former VP is in prison), be investigated in connexion with her being part of the “strategic committee for the independence process”. Judge Llarena is set to announce new indictments following the election.

  • 12 December. Constitutional Court preventively suspends Catalan cibersecurity agency.

  • 16 December. Spanish vicepresident Soraya Saenz de Santamaría, in run up to election event, claims credit for having “decapitated” Catalan pro-independence parties

  • 21 December. Elections are held in Catalonia. Extremely high turn-out (82%) yields results that are not very different from those of 2015. Pro-independence parties obtain 47.5%, anti-independence parties 43.5%, and CeC who do not hold a strong position on independence 7.5%. More detail on election results here.
  • 21 December. Report requested from Civil Guard by Judge Llarena (in charge of instructing case against former Catalan ministers and social leaders) now includes peaceful mass demonstrations held on Catalan national day since 2013 to be part of sedition and rebellion case.

  • 22 December. Following electoral victory Puigdemont requests meeting with Rajoy from Brussels. Rajoy refuses within two hours.

  • 24 December. King Felipe Christmas address with softer tone towards Catalonia.

  • 26 December. A platform called “Barcelona is not Catalonia” puts forward the idea of Tabarnia (from Tarragona + Barcelona). The idea is that in the more populated counties within these provinces there would be a majority wanting to remain in Spain, and that they could separate from the rest of Catalonia. The Madrid media immediately set out to popularise the idea.

  • 3 January. Council of Europe report on implementation of recommended measures to fight corruption in Spain concludes they have not been implemented.

  • 3 January. Spanish Tax Authority unexpectedly reduces by 789 million euros current year transfers to Catalonia.

  • 6 January. Supreme Court denies ousted Vice President Junqueras appeal to be released from pre-trial incarceration.

  • 9 January. Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, resigns his position as chairman of PDeCat. He does so presumably for personal reasons as he is on trial for the public funds which were “misappropriated” for organising the non-binding referendum in 2014. He is also the last person in a hierarchical position within the party to have been part of the CiU hierarchy, and hence the last link in the independence movement with the cases of corruption that CiU was involved in over 23 years in the regional government.

  • 12 January. Supreme Court denies Junqueras transfer to Catalan prison and physical participation in Catalan parliament, although he will be able to delegate his vote. The same to apply to ousted Interior Minister, Joaquim Forn, and president of ANC, Jordi Sánchez, both of whom have also been elected as members of the new parliament.

  • 15 January. Verdict on Palau Case which involved corrupt financing practices by former ruling party in Catalonia Convergència between 1999 and 2009. Prison sentences of nine, seven and four years handed out to key figures Millet , Montui and Ossàcar.

  • 17 January. Roger Torrent from ERC elected speaker of Catalan parliament. Puigemont to be the only candidate to preside Catalan government.

  • 18 January. Spanish interior minister, Zoido, discloses cost of Spanish police operation in Catalonia to prevent referendum on 1 October: 87 million euros.  It involved shipping in 10,000 police from outside the region. The minister said the operation was proportional and professional.

  • 23 January. Puigdemont travels to Denmark. Spanish state prosecutor request for reactivation of European arrest warrant rejected by Supreme Court on grounds that arrest would facilitate his “remote” swearing in as President.

  • 24 January. Intense searches at the French border in case Puigdemont should sneak back into Spain continue.

  • 25 January. King speaks at Davos WEF blaming independentists for “undermining democracy”.

  • 25 January. Government requests Council of State advisory opinion on appeal to Constitutional Court to disqualify Puigdemont from investiture on grounds that his mobility is jeopardised. Council of State does not support government. Government sends appeal to Constitutional Court anyway

  • 26 January. Court responds by ruling that there can be no remote investiture and that for a presencial one, Puigdemont would require permission from Supreme Court judge.

  • 31 January. Catalan parliamentary session in which investiture is to take place is postponed. Speaker Roger Torrent takes decision on basis that “full guarantees” cannot be provided.

  • 31 January. Text message in which Puigdemont allegedly admits defeat leaked to Spanish TV channel Telecinco.

  • 2 February. Supreme Court judge Llarena rules that former Catalan Minister for the interior, Joaquim Forn, remain in preventive custody on grounds that he is still an independentist.

  • 6 Februrary. Llarena rules Jordi Sánchez, number 2 on Puigdemont list and president of Catalan National Assembly, to remain in preventive prison because he remains committed to Catalan independence.

  • 12 February. Split between ERC and JxCat over insistence on Puigdemont being sworn in in spite of threats from Spanish government increasingly visible as Junqueras says from prison Puigdemont would not be an “effective president”.

  • 13 February Parliament speaker Torrent (ERC) requests protection from European Court of Human Rights for investiture of Puigdemont.

  • 14 February. Former CUP member of parliament MP, Mireia Boya, delcares before judge Llarena that independence declaration was not symbolic, contrary to line followed by ousted members of Catalan government. She is not jailed.

  • 15 February. Spanish government threatens with using cover of Article 155 to put an end to Catalan language immersion in school system (which is constitutionally a regional competence).

  • 20 February. CUP leader Anna Gabriel due to be interrogated by judge Llarena, announces from Geneva that she will not return to Spain as she does not expect fair treatment by the justice system. Judge issues a national arrest warrant, but not an international one.

  • 25 February. King Felipe VI visits Barcelona for inauguration of World Mobile Congress. He is received with massive “cacerolada” (pots and pans protest).

Independence process timeline 2010-2017

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