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Catalan Parliament Votes For Independence

People react as they watch on giant screens a plenary session outside the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona, Spain, October 27, 2017

Catalonia's regional parliament has declared independence from Spain in a vote boycotted by opposition lawmakers.

Separatist lawmakers erupted in applause as the vote was approved with 70 ballots in favor of establishing an independent Catalan Republic.

There were 10 votes against and 2 blank ballots in the vote, which took place shortly after most opposition legislators left the chamber in protest.

The motion called for beginning an independence process that includes drafting new key laws for Catalonia and opening negotiations "on equal footing" with Spanish authorities to establish cooperation.

Spain opposes the independence bid, and the national government is preparing measures to take over control of the northeastern region.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm and said the rule of law will be restored in Catalonia.

No country has expressed support for the secession bid.

Latest reports say the Spanish Senate has approved direct rule over Catalonia; after the Catalan parliament vote took place.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa, and Sky News