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Lauren Frayer

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A Spanish judge has issued an arrest warrant for Catalonia's deposed president who presided over an effort to break away from Spain. He's since fled into exile, and some of the separatist aides he left behind are now behind bars. Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

The Spanish government took control of the Catalan region a week ago. Separatist politicians were jailed in Madrid on Thursday, pending a trial. And Friday, a Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant for the deposed Catalan president.

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It was a strange day in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The separatist leader there was first expected to declare independence. Then he was expected to call fresh elections. But neither thing happened. Lauren Frayer reports.

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Spain's prime minister says he'll fire the government officials of Catalonia and hold new elections there within six months. Spain's Senate will have to approve that plan next week.

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Did he or didn't he declare independence? That is the question in Spain.

The answer has huge implications for what the Spanish government does next and how the country's relatively young democracy — indeed, possibly even the whole European Union — might stay intact.

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Our colleague, Lauren Frayer, is in Barcelona, the Spanish region of Catalonia, listening to people say they do not want change.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTORS: (Chanting in foreign language).

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An independence movement in Catalonia escalated over the weekend. The region tried to hold a referendum on independence. The central government called the referendum illegal. Police tried to shut it down and clashed with voters at polling stations.

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In northeast Spain today, violence has broken out at polling stations in Catalonia, where they're holding an independence referendum.

(SOUNDBITE OF RIOT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

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Inside a Barcelona film studio, a technician cues up a scene from the movie Prisoners, showing Jake Gyllenhaal's latest car chase.

Then a local actor — albeit one who's slightly older, balder and plumper than Gyllenhaal — delivers the Hollywood actor's lines in Catalan.

In Spain's northeast region of Catalonia, that's the official language, along with Spanish. Movies, television programs — even Netflix series — are all dubbed into Catalan. Dubbing is especially popular in children's programming for youngsters who don't yet know how to read subtitles.

Over the summer, Turkey's Twitter-sphere went abuzz after the appearance of a cryptic tweet: "The bird has flown away."

It was posted July 14 on the account of Sevan Nisanyan, a famous jailed intellectual, announcing he'd escaped from a Turkish prison. He had been behind bars since January 2014 and wasn't eligible for parole for another 10 years.

For 28 years, Joaquim Paladella has been mayor of his hometown of Batea, a pretty sandstone village of 2,000 people, nestled in vineyards west of Barcelona.

It's a place with more tractors than cars. There's so much farmwork, Batea has almost full employment. The jobless rate is 3 percent, one of the lowest in Spain.

Whenever there are elections for local, regional and national offices, Paladella sets up ballot boxes in the basement of the town hall. People line up outside.

But not this coming Sunday.

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This is what it sounded like in Barcelona today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting in foreign language).

Teenagers chain-smoke in the village square in Ripoll, a tidy Catalan town in the foothills of the Pyrenees in northeast Spain. They're trying to process what happened over summer vacation.

Theirs is one of those towns, population about 10,000, where everyone seems to know everyone. There's a Benedictine monastery, window boxes bursting with geraniums and almost zero crime.

"No tinc por!" — I am not afraid — mourners have been chanting in the local Catalan language at vigils and marches across Barcelona, since ISIS killed 16 people in and around the city on Aug. 17 and 18.

But when Spain's king broke royal protocol and joined marchers last weekend in solidarity with the terrorism victims, the tone changed: Residents booed and yelled at him to "get out!" and go home to Madrid.

Catalans are using the "No tinc por" slogan — and hashtag — to express defiance not only against terrorists but also against the Spanish state.

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