Catalans say secession vote to happen, they hope peacefully

Geneva Matthews
September 29, 2017

Serious events are now going on, unprecedented in Spanish democracy, which include threatened arrest of 700 mayors, the closing down of government websites and civil society organisations, the arrests of high-level Catalan regional government officials, interrogations and intimidation of school directors and the massive deployment of police forces exclusively for the goal of preventing Catalonia's citizens from being able to vote this Sunday at the referendum convened by their regional government.

These are the first ballot boxes to be seized by police in the crackdown on the referendum.

The European Union is tacitly backing the Spanish government's "repressive actions" to prevent the Catalan region from holding a weekend independence referendum, a leading Catalan official charged Thursday.

However, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said the referendum is against the law and the constitutional court has ordered it be halted while its legality is determined.

MADRID — Authorities in Catalonia intend to ensure that a disputed referendum on independence from Spain will take place peacefully on Sunday despite a crackdown on the vote by the national government, the region's interior chief said Thursday. Police authorities in the region have warned that sealing off polling stations, as demanded by Madrid, would cause a "disruption of public order".

Many protesters are carrying pro-independence flags and handmade banners, with slogans such as "we want to vote".

"In terms of the internal risks facing growth forecasts, the political tensions in Catalonia could eventually affect confidence, spending and financing conditions", the central bank said in its quarterly report.

No country, within or outside the European Union, has openly expressed support for the October 1 referendum that Spain's conservative government sees as illegal.

Writing in the Guardian, Colau said: "Europe can not allow itself to adopt a passive position over the Catalan question, seeing that the events going on in Barcelona are affecting Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Berlin alike".

None of these measures will help to solve the Catalan conflict, a political dispute that can only be resolved through political channels; on the contrary, their implementation is only heightening social tensions, as well as blocking any possibility for finding a negotiated solution to the conflict.

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