Police to take over polling stations in Catalonia to thwart independence ballot

Police to take over polling stations in Catalonia to thwart independence ballot

Spain's former ambassador to the United States was unequivocal in his response to statements from the White House suggesting the USA would recognize a Catalonia independent from Spain.

The legislation underpinning the vote has already been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court. Catalonia's separatist government, however, remains committed to holding it on Sunday.

The prosecutor also instructed the Catalan police, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, to commandeer the polling stations ahead of the weekend, Spanish news agency Europa Press reported. The Catalan parliament then approved the plan on September 6. What is clear is that even if the vote was taken and did result in a call for independence, Catalonia would not be recognized by any other state.

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Evacuees are now living in temporary shelters: sports centres, village halls or even with relatives or friends. He added: "There is a definite possibility that it will erupt, however we don't know when it will happen".

Sources from the ongoing investigation into the referendum bid told Efe news that among the sites seized by police was that of the Catalonian National Assembly (ANC), an organisation that promotes the region's independence from Spain which later confirmed, however, that its web page was still accessible through its European Union domain name (.eu).

Calling the referendum "anti-democratic and illegal", the deputy PM insisted that it "would not be possible" to happen.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Rajoy declared that the independence vote "would mean liquidating the law" and vowed that the referendum would not go ahead. The "nuclear option" would be to exercise Article 155 of the constitution, which grants Madrid the power to suspend the regional government's authority to rule.

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The shutting down of online information about the referendum is just one part of a concerted effort by the Spanish government to stop the vote from taking place.

The euro could face hefty sell-offs in the coming weeks, as long as the possibility of Catalan independence looms.

Political analysts and most politicians believe the standoff could be resolved by a renewed dialogue between Catalan and Spanish authorities that would lead to a better tax deal and increased infrastructure spending for the region.

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National opinion surveys show that overall a majority of Americans want to keep the current law, although many Republicans do not. Obama has only rarely publicly engaged in the day-to-day Washington policy fights since Trump replaced him in January.

"Both [statements] show a worrisome degree of ignorance about events in Spain", said Ruperez, also a former assistant United Nations secretary general.

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