Spain Minister brands Catalonia independence referendum 'mockery of democracy'

01 October, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Julio Duncan
  • Pep Guardiola

Supporters of Catalan independence began occupying polling stations on Friday, setting up a possible confrontation with police who have been ordered to clear them out by Sunday morning to ensure a referendum can not go ahead.

A legally binding vote is planned for October 1 2017, with officials insisting it will go ahead despite the Spanish government declaring it illegal and sending in police chiefs to stop it.

In another regional election, Catalonia's pro-independence parties narrowly win the most seats. A cruise ship and other boats together housing some 16,000 Spanish national police officers brought from other regions are docked in Barcelona's harbor in an attempt to stop the vote.

"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.

Enric Millo said parents and students were occupying 163 schools in the region and that police had been ordered to clear the buildings by 6am, ahead of the polling stations' planned 9am opening.

The autonomous region handles policing and some health and education policies, but Spain runs key areas like taxes, defense and ports.

The president of the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sanchez, called on Spanish police forces to "appeal to their conscience" and let the Catalan people "express themselves in freedom".

"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.

Catalan referendum vote police
Riot police clashed with voters on Sunday. Getty Images

"We need to coordinate it to ensure that there are actually lengthy lines to provide the impression around the world that we're gonna vote", recommendations delivered to voters by it's planners explained.

Any volunteer staffing a voting station with use of a census listing eligible voters would be liable for a fine of up to 300,000 euros, the government source said. Some 1 million Catalans voice their anger in a march through Barcelona.

At a news conference, regional officials displayed one of the white plastic ballot boxes bearing the crest of the regional government.

Robert said he'd much rather live in a place allows the democratic right to vote than one that doesn't.

He also hinted of further powers for the region after the attempted referendum: "We'll certainly try to look at a possible of a better deal", he told Sky.

On Saturday, a Catalan government spokesman said at least four police officers had entered the centre in Barcelona which controls the regional government's telecommunications and IT and were expected to stay there for two days. The Spanish constitution says Spain is "indivisible".

On the other hand, Carles Puigdemont promised that the referendum on the independence of Catalonia, a rich north-eastern province of 7.5 million people, would be held, although the Spanish court ruled that it was unconstitutional.


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