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Police move to prevent Catalonia referendum

01 October, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

"All polling stations will be in place - even if someone tries to stop it, citizens will still be able to vote", Oriol Junqueras, Catalan economy vice president, said.

"If the judge's orders are carried out. there is no reason for there to be a violent response on the part of anybody, and I trust this will be the case", secretary of state for security, Jose Antonio Nieto, told reporters.

"I insist that there will be no referendum on October 1", government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said, adding that organisers would face criminal charges for trying to hold it.

The Spanish giants are in favour of the vote for Catalan independence on Sunday, but there remains a lot of uncertainty as to what would happen to Barca, Espanyol and Girona if Catalonia gains independence from Spain.

The Catalan newspaper "LaVanguardia" reported today, citing Radio RAD1's claims that the Spanish police had entered the telecommunications and technology center of the Catalan government, but the police did not confirm the raids, said Reuters.

Authorities have already confiscated 10 million paper ballots in the last few days - which will make it much more hard for Catalan officials to carry out an effective vote.

He defended the Spanish government's decision to deploy thousands of police reinforcements to Catalonia to prevent the vote.

The standoff between the central government and Catalan leaders over an independence referendum opposed by Madrid has morphed into one of the biggest crises to hit Spain since democracy was restored after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

He said voter referendums can not be equated with democracy and asserted that they are actually the "instrument of choice of dictators".




Catalonia's secessionists, led by the region's pro-independence president Carles Puigdemont, vow to press ahead with the vote in rebellion against the central government in Madrid, and the Constitutional Court, which has declared the referendum illegal and the results, whatever they could be, illegitimate.

On the other hand, Catalan officials say they plan to hold a referendum, regardless of everything, and those who support them "defend" polling stations with various activities.

Spain is likely to deploy thousands of national police officers, now stationed on board two cruise ships docked in Barcelona's port, to disrupt any voting, and ultimately to guarantee Spanish sovereignty over Catalonia, our correspondent says.

At the La Sagrera primary school in Barcelona, parent Saverio Trioni said 20 parents and children slept over on Friday but "we expect way more tonight". The regional government has pressed ahead and called on residents to vote.

"A total of 1,300 schools out of 2,315 were closed by police". Yet Catalan officials have suggested that they shouldn't do so if that endangers public order.

Catalan police have been instructed to empty the buildings by Sunday morning, but not to use violence to remove the people occupying schools.

"What you see here was not planned beforehand".

The warning comes after a dozen Catalan officials were detained for two days last week. And it points to ominous storm clouds in other independent-minded regions, from Scotland to northern Italy. A secession trend on the continent would put new strains on the European Union.

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