Spanish police to take over Catalan polling stations to thwart independence vote

Lucy Bush
September 27, 2017

Spanish police have confiscated millions of ballots in recent days as part of a crackdown to stop the October 1 vote, which has been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court.

October's referendum in Catalonia will be the second such vote in a little over three years after an earlier 2014 campaign for independence was hampered by low turnout and similarly ruled as illegal by Spain's constitutional court.

The Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid said on Tuesday the order to note down the personal details of officials was given to police by the top state prosecutor in Catalonia.

"If the Catalonia referendum goes ahead we expect this to be a disruptive event for the Euro" - Kathleen Brooks at City Index.
His comments came after the police arrested 14 senior Catalan officials, seized some 10 million ballot papers and launched thousands of reinforcements to the region.

Another 85 sites are in the process of being closed, judicial sources said.

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"But it will not be a referendum", one of the officials said on condition of anonymity.

But the US President became more ambiguous hinting the Catalans would not stand for their referendum vote to be blocked.

Faced with these actions, the separatist leaders of this wealthy northeastern region of Spain, home to around 7.5 million people, have accused Madrid of "repression".

It has sent out notifications to people planning to man polling booths spread across the region, the parliamentary spokeswoman for the separatist Junts pel Si party said on Tuesday.

The central government argues that it is simply applying the constitution, which does not allow this type of referendum, just as in neighbouring France and Italy.

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As tensions surrounding the vote builds, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has canceled his trip to the Estonian capital of Tallinn for a European Union summit on Friday, Spanish media reported.

He said: "It is not on my horizon to bring forward the elections whatever the result of this we are talking about".

Meanwhile Miquel Sala, mayor of Oliana in northwestern Catalonia, said three Guardia Civil officers had visited on Monday morning.

However, a source told AFP news agency that the leader would stay in Spain ahead of the planned referendum two days later.

Many had not yet received information about where or when they would be working after the state-run postal service was told to stop all mail related to the vote, Marta Rovira said in a radio interview.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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