Catalans hit streets for independence

Posted September 22, 2017

Around 500 people are marching in central Madrid to support the Catalonia region's bid to hold a referendum on independence from Spain and criticizing the government for launching a crackdown to stop the vote.

Catalonia's regional government is defying an order from Spain's Constitutional Court to stop the ballot, scheduled for 1 October, which the Madrid government has declared illegal.

On Tuesday, officers seized a trove of documents related to the independence referendum from the offices of Unipost, a private delivery company, in Terrasa, a city near Barcelona.

Police also disbanded a handful of right-wing protesters that showed up with Spanish flags to call for the country's unity.

"FC Barcelona, in holding the utmost respect for its diverse body of members, will continue to support the will of the majority of Catalan people, and will do so in a civic, peaceful and exemplary way".

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In a September 20 speech about recent attempts to prevent the referendum, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont denounced the Spanish government as authoritarian and undemocratic.

Spanish authorities on Monday took control of Catalonia's finances to prevent funds being used for the independence referendum, a move that limits the region's autonomy and puts in doubt the payment of thousands of public workers' salaries.

Catalans remain certain that the referendum will go through as planned on October 1st.

Mr Rajoy said the regional government had been warned that they were destroying Spain's national sovereignty, "There's no democratic state in the world that would accept what these people are planning", he said. The Spanish government has vowed to stop the vote, which it says is unconstitutional, and the two governments - one in Madrid, one in Barcelona - are now on a collision course.

Mayor of the town of El Pont de Suert Jose Antonio Troguet leaves the court of Seu d'Urgell, Lerida, Catalonia after being accused of cooperating with the Catalan independence referendum.

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Jordi Sole and Josep-Maria Terricabras from the Green group and Ramon Tremosa from the Liberals called on European Union commissioners "to not remain indifferent" to what they called Spain's "siege" of Catalonia.

More than 70% of Catalans want a legal referendum on independence to settle the issue. Officials said 80% of them backed independence.

Catalonian officials said Spain's Guardia Civil, or paramilitary national police, searched several government departments, including the offices of the presidency, economic affairs, and foreign relations on Wednesday morning.

"It is obvious that we won't be able to vote as we would have liked", Oriol Junqueras, deputy head and economy minister of the regional government, told local television TV3. The government arrested 14 people, the newspaper reports, and "among the detained, there are high-ranking officials" from the Catalan government, including the region's secretary of the economy and secretary of the treasury.

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