But the nationalist celebrations in the Plaza San Jaume continued unabated.“It’s a historic day”, insisted one young independista named Marc, wearing a Catalan flag - or estellada - T-shirt, as he walked through the emblematic Plaza de Catalunya."We will not recognise as valid interlocutors those people who are not representatives of popular legitimacy," the teachers' union USTEC said in a statement."We will be where we should be in this moment: with the Catalan institutions and with democracy as it fights for its survival." Pro-independence students also called for a strike in Catalan universities on Thursday to urge authorities to push ahead with a declaration of independence and defend the region's institutions.Spain has said it would fire top Catalan officials if they did not comply with orders but it has remained vague on how it plans to implement direct rule if lower ranking civil servants decide not to follow instructions.Around 4,000 national police who had been shipped in for the referendum have remained in Catalonia.
They usually act as a back-up to Catalonia's own 17,000-strong police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, though they have also been seen reinforcing security at some official buildings in Catalonia's capital Barcelona.
The outcome of the vote, nonetheless, was given a rapturous welcome by thousands of pro-independence supporters waiting in warm sunshine outside the parliament.
Amongst them were dozens of mayors from towns and villages who had travelled specially to Barcelona, many with their ceremonial staff of office, to express their support for secession.
People wave Catalan independence flags in front of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, the building that houses the Catalonian presidency, following a demonstration for Catalan independence to demand the release of imprisoned Catalan leaders Catalonia has said it is confident police, firefighters and teachers will defy attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule on the region. It is a seven million-person decision," Catalonia's foreign affairs chief Raul Romeva told BBC radio.
The Spanish government has invoked special constitutional powers to fire the regional government and force elections to counter a push for independence, with a vote in the national Senate to implement direct rule due on Friday. Mr Romeva was asked whether he believed all institutions, including the police, would follow orders from Catalan institutions rather than obey the Spanish government.