Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Catalan govt admits referendum blow but vows to press on

Catalan bishops call for calm as Spain cracks down on independence vote Spain sending extra police to Catalonia over independence referendum
Christy Curtis | 23 September, 2017, 01:11

At least 20,000 people gathered outside the Catalonian region's higher court in Barcelona on Thursday to protest against the arrest of 14 officials for their alleged involvement in the preparation of an independence referendum that the Spanish judiciary has deemed unconstitutional.

Spain will deploy police reinforcements to Catalonia if an independence referendum pledged by Catalan officials but opposed by the national government goes ahead, officials have said.

A Catalan regional judiciary body statement said the six declined to testify Friday when brought before the judge.

Among those threatened is Josep Maria Jove, a top Catalan treasury official, who is being held on sedition charges.

In Barcelona, several thousand protesters flooded the streets for a second day running after police detained key members of the team organizing the October 1 vote.

The Spanish government called the bill illegal and challenged the legislation in the Constitutional Court.

Catalan bishops call for calm as Spain cracks down on independence vote

A ministry statement says the agents will provide backing for the Catalan regional police who are also under orders to prevent the October 1 referendum from taking place.

Hundreds entered the main building of Barcelona University and occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university managers.

The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed.

Many who do not support independence say they are scared to speak out and no longer feel comfortable in their own country. Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras acknowledged that the crackdown had disrupted the referendum plans. Officers arrested a dozen regional government officials and seized around 10 million ballot papers this week. The Catalan National Assembly, a driving force behind the secession movement, urged people to gather at noon September 21 outside the region's justice tribunal and bring tents if needed.

Spain's central government says the planned referendum violates Spain's constitution, and the Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended while it studies its legality.

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