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Catalan referendum: Spanish government referendum illegal

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Catalan referendum: Spanish government referendum illegal

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:51 pm

Catalan independence rally: Thousands gather in Barcelona :ymparty:

Thousands of Catalans are thronging the streets of Barcelona to mark their national day - the "Diada" - and show support for an independence referendum.

Catalonia's pro-independence government plans to hold the referendum on 1 October, defying Spain which deems it illegal. Catalonia has passed a law to secede from Spain if the vote is Yes.

Opinion polls suggest the vote, if it takes place, will be very close.

With their own language and customs, Catalans already have much autonomy.

But there is a widespread feeling in the region - one of Spain's richest - that too much of its tax revenue goes to Madrid.

Spain's economic woes since the 2008 financial crisis - including chronic unemployment - have fuelled the pro-independence mood in Catalonia.

In recent days Spain's Guardia Civil police have raided several Catalan printing shops suspected of preparing material for the referendum.

The crowd in central Barcelona is expected to swell to as many as 500,000, as Catalans of all ages descend on the city. Nearly 2,000 buses were chartered to bring people to the rally.

The crowd - many sporting T-shirts in the national colours - is to form a giant cross, the regional daily La Vanguardia reports.

The 11 September Diada marks the fall of Barcelona in the War of Spanish Succession in 1714 - a defeat for Catalan forces.

Last week Spain's Constitutional Court placed a legal block on the independence referendum. A majority of Catalans want the vote to go ahead, polls suggest, to settle the thorny issue of independence.

The left-wing mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, cautiously backs the referendum, but has asked the Catalan parliament for guarantees to make the vote as inclusive as possible.

In November 2014, Catalonia held an unofficial "consultation" on independence - and some 80% of those who voted backed it.

But turnout then was relatively low and the vote was non-binding, as the Constitutional Court had ruled it illegal.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41229486
Last edited by Anthea on Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Catalan referendum: Spanish government referendum illegal

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Re: Catalan independence rally: Thousands gather in Barcelon

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:37 am

Catalonia referendum: Separatists rally around mayors in Barcelona

Catalan separatists and supporters of the region's right to hold a referendum on independence from Spain have held a rally backing more than 700 mayors facing the threat of arrest.

The mayors have been called in for questioning by prosecutors for agreeing to facilitate the vote locally.

They could be arrested if they do not attend and prosecuted for using public funds if they help stage the ballot.

Madrid has promised to block the vote, saying it is unconstitutional.

Catalonia's regional government insists it will take place as scheduled despite a growing clampdown by the Spanish state.

Image
Mayors turned out with their staves of office

Some of the mayors gathered with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont outside the headquarters of the regional government, the Generalitat Palace, as supporters waved the lone-star flag of the independence movement.

"We stand firm against threats, censorship and prosecution and repeat this: we want to be a free country," Mr Puigdemont told the crowd, according to a tweet by the Catalan National Assembly grassroots independence movement.

Chants of "We will vote" could be heard from the crowd.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who supports the right to hold the referendum, also turned up.

Image
Barcelona Mayoress Ada Colau (L) embraced Catalonian regional President Carles Puigdemont at the rally

"It's a disgrace that we have a government that is incapable of dialogue and instead dedicates itself to pursuing and intimidating mayors and the media," she said.

Ms Colau announced on Thursday that people in Barcelona would be able to vote without civil servants involved risking their jobs but did not explain how.

'It won't happen'

On Friday, the Spanish government gave the regional government 48 hours to abandon its "illegal" referendum plans or lose budgetary powers.

"If, 48 hours from now, there's no compromise that falls within the law, from then on the Spanish government will take over responsibility for making Catalonia's payments," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy later told a meeting of his Popular Party in Barcelona.

"My friends, I say this both calmly and firmly: there will be no referendum, it won't happen."

Mr Rajoy also announced that police from Spain's national Guardia Civil force had seized 100,000 referendum posters.

No government in the world, he said, could accept one of its regions unilaterally scrapping the nation's constitution and its laws.

Attempts to block the official referendum website have continued.

Thousands of ballot boxes are said to have been hidden by referendum supporters. Police have been hunting for them but Toni Castejon, spokesman for the Catalan police force, admitted "right now, we have no idea where they are", the Reuters news agency reported.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41292318
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Re: Catalan referendum: Spanish government referendum illega

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:40 pm

Spain steps up raids to halt vote

Spain's Guardia Civil police have detained 14 Catalan officials and raided regional government ministries involved in organising a banned independence vote.

Tensions were already high before Josep Maria Jové, number two in the Catalan vice-presidency, and others were held.

Thousands of Catalans took to the streets in protest and the regional leader complained of a power grab.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the state had been forced to act.

Catalonia's separatist government is defying a Constitutional Court order to halt the planned 1 October vote, which has been condemned by the Madrid government as illegal.

Image
A sea of protesters filled the Gran Via and other streets as police searched the Catalan economy ministry

Wednesday's operation targeting over 20 ministries and institutions was a dramatic intensification of Spain's attempt to stop the vote taking place. At least six million ballot papers were found in a warehouse outside Barcelona, reports said.

And in a separate move Spain's finance minister, Cristóbal Montoro, said the national government was now set to take control of a large part of Catalonia's public finances.

After an emergency cabinet meeting Catalan President Carles Puigdemont accused the Madrid government of "de facto" suspending the region's autonomy and imposing a state of emergency.

Why is Spain cracking down?

Eleven days ahead of the planned vote on 1 October, the national government has made its biggest move yet to stop it happening.

Spain did not stop an earlier vote taking place in November 2014, but this time the Catalan leadership plans a declaration of independence within 48 hours of a Yes vote. Spain's government has been backed by the Constitutional Court, which has suspended the referendum law passed by the Catalan parliament.

Image
Scuffles broke out on Tuesday when demonstrators in Terrassa tried to stop a raid targeting voting material

Mr Rajoy said the regional government had been warned that they were destroying Spain's national sovereignty, "There's no democratic state in the world that would accept what these people are planning," he said. He urged the Catalan president to comply with the law and put his secessionist challenge into "reverse gear".

Several ministries in Barcelona were raided on Wednesday, including the economy, foreign affairs, telecoms, social affairs and presidency buildings. Among those detained were officials from the economy ministry, run by Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, as well as figures from other departments.

Police were searching for computer equipment and any documentation linked to the planned vote. The day before, they seized some 45,000 envelopes with the Catalan government's logo from a private delivery company in Terrassa, north-west of Barcelona.

On Friday, the Spanish finance minister gave Oriol Junqueras a deadline to call off the vote or see funding for essential services in Catalonia taken over by Madrid. A letter was sent to Mr Junqueras late on Tuesday reminding him the deadline had passed.

Link to Full Article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41331152
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