Spanish Authorities Blockade Polling Stations, Dismantle Equipment Ahead of Catalonia Referendum

Spanish Authorities Blockade Polling Stations, Dismantle Equipment Ahead of Catalonia Referendum

Spanish Authorities Blockade Polling Stations, Dismantle Equipment Ahead of Catalonia Referendum

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano has insisted that Sunday's referendum "won't happen" after ballot boxes were seized by police and the vote was declared illegal by the Spanish government.

"Catalan citizens will be able to vote on Sunday", the vice-president of the Catalan government Oriol Junqueras said in a press conference with the regional government spokesman, Jordi Turull, and the minister in charge of external relations, Raul Romeva.

"We're determined to resist peacefully", said Víctor Mitjans, a 44-year-old public servant who stood with his wife and his child at the gates of a public building in Sortidor square in Barcelona.

"If they want to stop the vote, they are going to have to put many, many cops at the polling stations, and if the people still want to vote?"

Catalan authorities say they will declare independence within 48 hours after announcing the vote's results if the yes side wins.

Scores of Catalan farmers on tractors rumbled into downtown Barcelona on Friday, driving down the city's broad boulevards in a show of support for a potentially explosive vote on whether the prosperous region should break away from the rest of Spain and become Europe's newest country.

"We are people who have experience with difficulties, and every difficultly makes us stronger", he said.

Catalonia has its own language and culture but out of its 7.5 million inhabitants, more than half come from elsewhere, such as those whose parents or grandparents migrated from other parts of Spain.

Courts have ordered regional and national police to seal off voting facilities on Sunday and thousands of officers have been sent to Catalonia in anticipation of potential unrest.

The Spanish federal government has filed a complaint with the country's Constitutional Court over the Catalan government and parliament approving the law on the independence vote.

Among the sites raided was Catalonia's Telecommunications and Technologies Center, which manages communications and computer systems for the local government.

Friday also saw a judge order media giant Google to remove an application giving information about the outlawed referendum. He loves his work and decided his taxi was an ideal platform to advance his ambitions for an independent Catalonia.

Spain's data protection agency warned that polling station workers face fines of as much as 300,000 euros ($355,000) for accessing and managing data for the electoral registry.

The first hint for the separation of Catalonia was dropped in 2014, when Catalan secessionists held a trial referendum. "What it's sure is that tomorrow there won't be a binding referendum with guarantees".

"I know lots of friends - they say yes or no about independence". A soccer crisis could be avoided if the law were to be amended, but most Spanish lawmakers are opposed to Catalan independence and it is not clear if they would approve that. Kouloglou will observe Sunday's vote and has spoken with Catalan officials, who complained about "very brutal violations of the democratic rights" by Madrid.

Numerous students interviewed mentioned Franco and his 40-year oppression of Catalonia's language, culture and autonomy as a rallying cry.

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