Published: Sun, September 24, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Spain Sends Enforcers to Stop Catalan Vote as Police Unity Frays

Spain Sends Enforcers to Stop Catalan Vote as Police Unity Frays

"The new officers would monitor public spaces, keep order and "act in case the illegal referendum is maintained", the ministry said in a statement".

However, neither the Catalan government nor the Catalan police force will accept the new leadership, according to Catalonia regional government's interior minister, Joaquim Forn.

Civil Guard police have arrested about a dozen regional Catalan officials and seized approximately 10 million paper ballots, dealing a severe blow to the organizers of the plebiscite.

Spain's post-dictatorship constitution only allows the central government to call a referendum on secession and establishes that all Spaniards must have a say in a vote on the country's sovereignty.

Catalonia's regional parliament, which is controlled by pro-independence parties, has called a referendum for October 1, but the Spanish government has declared the vote illegal.

The Catalan government earlier this week accused the Spanish authorities of effectively taking over its administration after state police raided its offices and arrested officials, and the finance ministry took control of the local finance department.

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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.

They will join the approximately 5,000 state police normally based in Catalonia and around 17,000 Mossos officers.

Numerous demonstrators in Barcelona had slept overnight near the judiciary building in tents, sleeping bags or hammocks strung up between lampposts. A statement said the six declined to give evidence. The Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended while it studies its legality.

Hundreds of pro-independence supporters had protested outside the courthouse in the town of Hospitalet de Llobregat to demand the officials' release.

A spokesman for Junqueras confirmed the arrest and said that other Catalan government premises were being searched by the agents.

The region has about 5.5 million eligible voters, and polls consistently show the region's inhabitants favour a referendum but are roughly evenly divided over independence from Spain.

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