Spain Sends More Police to Block Catalonia Referendum
Sep 25, 2017, 00:25
"On Saturday, the state prosecutor in Catalonia told all local and national police forces they would be placed temporarily under a single chain of command and report directly to the interior ministry in Madrid".
The announcement by the Catalan interior chief Joaquim Forn followed a move by Spain's Interior Ministry to take over coordinating all policing efforts to stop the October 1 Catalan independence vote that the Spanish government considers illegal.
"The Catalan government does not accept this intervention of the state because it does not take into account all the legal framework that we have in order to take care of the security in Catalonia".
"Disobedience of the law by a part of the political power is the opposite of democracy, it means an imposition, an injustice, the violation of people's rights and an attack to democracy", Rajoy said in a televised appearance on Wednesday night.
Supporters of Catalan independence are protesting against the Spanish government's decision to ban an independence referendum on October 1.
Spain's Interior Ministry canceled time off and scheduled leave for Civil Guard and National Police officers who are being deployed to ensure the vote doesn't happen.
Twelve Catalan government officials arrested last week have been released, but six remain under investigation.
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Bishops in Catalonia have appealed for calm after Spanish raided offices and detained local politicians ahead of a planned independence referendum.
The civilian head of the Catalan police is part of the pro-secession regional government that is pushing ahead with plans for the vote despite the ballot's suspension by Spain's Constitutional Court.
"It is very important for this process to have students on our side because we are really going to put this forward and go to independence", another explained.
Polls show that support for secession in Catalonia, a prosperous region in northeastern Spain, rose to more than half of its 7.5 million residents at the height of the financial crisis that began in 2008.
Spain's central government says the referendum goes against the country's 1978 constitution, which states Spain is indivisible.
Catalonia's political leaders have channeled their region's sense of identity separateness in the direction of independence in recent years, capitalizing on the populist appeal to economic nationalism in arguing that their disproportionate contribution to the national budget is unjust and therefore legitimate grounds for splitting from Spain.
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