Spanish police move in to stop banned Catalan independence referendum

Spanish police move in to stop banned Catalan independence referendum

Kerry Wise
October 1, 2017

Parents and pupils were occupying the schools so police could not dismantle polling stations in them.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for FC Barcelona if Catalonia gets its independence. Spain's attorney general has warned that scores more could be arrested and prosecuted, including even the leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont. "The Mossos have come to see what we are doing and they've seen we're having a party", said 45-year-old Ferran Taberner who was at the school with his daughter.

"Friends, so that victory is definite, on Sunday let's dress up in referendum (clothes) and leave home prepared to change history", Puigdemont said.

The central government in Madrid, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, backed by the Constitutional Court has ruled the referendum as unconstitutional and therefore illegal. That appears to underscore the reality that several thousand police can't really "stop" this vote.

On Saturday, Guardia Civil officers raided the Catalan government's telecommunications and information technology center, Joan Maria Piqué, the global communications director for the government of Catalonia, told CNN. A company spokeswoman said Google removes content when it receives a court order.

Students and parents have occupied schools throughout Catalonia in an attempt to secure them as voting centers ahead of Sunday's proposed independence referendum, according to local media on Saturday.

As September draws to an uneasy end in Spain, Oct. 1 looms heavily on the horizon as the date set by the Catalan government for a vote on the creation of a Catalan Republic and secession from Spain. In response to this many parents have chose to spend the weekend with their children inside the schools.

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Hundreds of teachers gathered at the regional government's headquarters on Thursday, chanting "we will open" and "we will vote". "Then, if "yes" or "no", it's up to each person".

Spain has taken over Catalonia's budget to prevent spending and police have been ordered to block or close public buildings where the vote is meant to be held on Sunday.

The government in Madrid ridiculed the preparations, saying there had been no formal campaign period and no electoral roll. It is unclear how Catalan police will behave. "But what Catalan authorities have promised, an effective referendum with legal basis and binding, is something that won't happen".

The Catalan government appeared to soften its language somewhat in a news conference Saturday, with officials talking of "peaceful resistance" and a peaceful demonstration of people's democratic rights.

Spain's central government and Catalan authorities agree on devolving more powers to the northeastern region, including finance, health care and education.

Mr Dastis tried to argue his point and labelled the Catalan government "champions of alternative facts".

"In the case of independence, Catalan teams in La Liga - Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona - will have to decide where they want to play: in the Spanish league or a neighbouring country like Italy, France or the Premier League", he said.