140 pro-independence websites shut down in Catalonia

Frederick Owens
September 28, 2017

The situation in Catalonia deteriorated last week, when Spain's Civil Guard detained over a dozen of people in a raid related to the preparations for the independence vote.

The Spanish government said on Tuesday regional police will take control of any voting booths before a Catalan referendum on independence this weekend which it deems illegal. The court suspended a referendum law that the Catalan parliament passed on September 6 to map out a potential transition to independence.

People who favour independence say Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, is a "nation" - not a "nationality" as recognised by the Spanish constitution - and that as such they should be allowed to have their own state.

In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutor's office said they would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.

Spain's Court of Auditors gave Puigdemont's predecessor, former regional chief Artur Mas, and eight other Catalan officials 15 days to repay the 5.2 million euros ($6.2 million) in public funds it cost to hold a symbolic independence referendum in Catalonia in 2014 that was also banned by Madrid.

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Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy has also gotten personally involved, stating that the vote "will not happen because this would mean liquidating the law" - setting up a tense confrontation in an already charged atmosphere.

The Catalan government maintains the referendum will go ahead although it has not explained where people will vote if they can not access the voting booths. But the Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and went to the courts to shut it down. He has promised to declare independence within 48 hours of a victory for the yes campaign.

He accused Madrid of imposing a "de facto" state of emergency to stop the referendum. In recent years, the regions have been given greater political autonomy, but far from defusing the desire to break away, in this case Catalonia's parliament has put it on a crash course with the Spanish government.

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.

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