The Spanish government has dissolved the parliament of Catalonia and dismissed the region's government after it attempted to unilaterally declare independence - a move Spain considers illegal and unconstitutional. The move triggers early elections in the autonomous region.

In Barcelona, the regional capital, the announcement by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was reportedly greeted by jeers. "It's not about suspending or meddling in the self-government [of Catalonia], but to return it to normality and legality as soon as possible," said Rajoy.

Not only is the parliament to be dissolved, but other Catalan agencies are to be targeted - with oversea's offices being closed and the head of the regional police being dismissed.

Countries around the world have chosen to stand with Spain against the region's independence attempt. A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the country "does not and will not recognise the Unilateral Declaration of Independence made by the Catalan regional parliament ... We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish Constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved."

The United States similarly said it stood by the Spanish government's measures, saying in a statement from the State Department: "Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government's constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united."

Spain's neighbour, Italy, also refused to recognise Catalan independence, saying it was "outside the framework of the law." The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani said in a statement that the declaration "is a breach of the rule of law" adding "No one in the European Union will recognise this declaration."

After the parliament's vote, Catalonia's now-fired leader Carles Puigdemont called for peace: "In the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacifism and dignity. It's in our, in your hands, to build the republic."

Recent polls have suggested that the region is fairly evenly divided on the issue of independence, with both secessionist and unionist marches expected in the coming days.