Spain to send extra police to Catalonia if independence referendum goes ahead

Kristopher Drake
September 24, 2017

The increasingly aggressive police crackdown on the Catalonia referendum is taking a lot more police.

They also arrested 14 organizers of the vote, including several top Catalan government officials.

The statement said the extra police will provide backup for the regional Catalan police, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, who are also under orders to prevent the staging of the referendum.

So far the state and local police forces have worked together well, but Spanish government officials say in private the Mossos could do more to block the vote and maintain order.

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the October 1 vote while judges assess its legality, but Catalan authorities insist it will take place, and both sides have accused the other of acting illegally and undemocratically.

"You", said Rajoy, speaking to the Catalan separatist government "are making a mistake and you are going to force us to go where we don't want to go", he said last week in a televised speech at a ruling Popular Party meeting.

The accusations follow mass protests in Barcelona on Wednesday, when an estimated 2,000 people allegedly vandalized Spanish National Police, CNP, patrol cars and temporarily blocked officers from leaving a government building. Three ferries docked at Barcelona's port will provide accommodation for the extra officers. A statement said the six declined to give evidence.

Hundreds of people gathered to protest the raids and shout pro-independence slogans outside offices in the region's capital, Barcelona. Student union representatives urged the protesters to remain over the weekend. The Constitutional Court ruled that Catalonia lacks the unilateral right to self-determination because fundamental matters such as changing the country's borders can only be decided at a national level.

Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution allows the central government to take control of a regional administration if it poses a threat to the national interest.

Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1 trillion-euro (£970 billion) economy and enjoys wide self-government. Polls consistently show the region's inhabitants favor holding a referendum but are roughly evenly divided over independence from Spain.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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