Catalonia referendum: Independence struggle intensifies

Catalonian leaders appealed to the Spanish government for dialogue to avert an impending political crisis as Madrid took measures to stop state cash being used to fund a referendum on splitting from Spain
Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont poses next to a pro-independence supporter with a Catalan flag showing the referendum date. The flag reads "October 1, the most important day in our history" - Photo: Albert Gea/REUTERS
16/09/2017
16:40
Catalonia
Newsroom/REUTERS
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On June, President Carles Puigdemont, head of Catalonia, northeastern Spain, said that the region will hold a referendum on splitting from Spain on October 1 while the Spanish Government says it will block any independence vote in Catalonia, arguing such a vote is illegal and must not take place.

Madrid said that it would block any attempt to hold a vote as soon as the referendum announcement was formally rubber-stamped by Catalan authorities.

Under Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene in the running of Catalonia’s regional government, forcing it to drop the vote by sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s authority to rule.

Earlier this week, Catalonian leaders appealed to the Spanish government for dialogue to avert an impending political crisis as Madrid took measures to stop state cash being used to fund the vote. Spanish prosecutors warned that officials engaging in any preparations for the vote could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds.

Thus, in a letter released on Friday, Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau wrote to Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Spain’s King Felipe saying the state had mounted “an unprecedented repression offensive” calling for “political dialogue,” yet the Spanish government said it had not received the letter.

As independence struggle intensifies, today more than 700 mayors from Catalonia gathered in Barcelona to confirm their support for the referendum while the Spanish police have raided several print shops and newspaper offices in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes and leaflets to be used for the referendum.

Spain's Civil Guard has closed the information website about the referendum, but the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), the institution under which the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain is politically organized, opened two new websites.

On Twitter, Carles Puigdemont announced that citizens will be able to continue consulting all the information in these alternative websites using a Proxy server.

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