A man sporting a Catalan typical 'barretina' hat plays guitar as other people wave Catalan flags in front of the 'Generalitat' palace (Catalan government headquarters) in Barcelona on October 30, 2017. AFP / LLUIS GENE
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Spain's direct rule over Catalonia took hold smoothly Monday as employees ignored calls for civil disobedience to turn up for work, and secessionist parties agreed to stand in new elections, implying acceptance that the regional government was dissolved. Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont traveled to Belgium with several other members of his sacked administration, a senior member of Spain's ruling People's Party said. A trade union, Intersindical-CSC, which had called for a general strike in Catalonia, said Monday that it had canceled it.Sacked Catalan leaders have remained ambiguous but they stopped short of directly defying Spain's authority. Two hundred thousand public sector workers receive salaries paid by the Catalan region, and another 100,000 in the region rely directly on the Madrid government.This compared to 41.1 percent in July according to an official survey carried out by the Catalan government.Spain's Interior Ministry named a new chief for the regional police Saturday who has insisted that the 17,000 officers of the force should remain neutral.
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