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Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Spanish police raids seen as attempt to thwart Catalan referendum

Spanish police raids seen as attempt to thwart Catalan referendum

Spanish police are reported to have raided several departments of Catalonia's regional government as tensions rise between Madrid and the pro-independence regional government over a banned independence referendum.

The leader of Catalonia has said Spain is showing a "totalitarian attitude" with the arrests of Catalan officials and civil servants, and vowed to go ahead with an independence referendum despite legal warnings not to do so.

There was no such action taken by the Spanish government before the last referendum in November 2014, however, this time Catalan leaders have revealed that they will declare independence within 48 hours of the final result if there is a majority "Yes" vote.

Officers seized referendum documents from the offices of private delivery firm in Terrassa, a Catalan city.

Another leading citizens' agency, the Federation of Barcelona Neighbours, called on people to take to the streets in defence of Catalonia's institutions.

Police said they confiscated over 45,000 notifications which were about to be sent to Catalans selected to staff polling stations for the vote, representing 80 percent of the numbers necessary to ensure the stations were adequately staffed. Polls show a minority of people in the region when to break away from Spain.

In a television address, Catalan's President Carles Puigdemont said: "The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia's government and has established emergency rule. They made a big mistake, we wanted to vote and they declared war", its president Jordi Sanchez said in a statement.

A supporter of Catalans independence holding a flag of the region, where a ballot for on breaking away from Spain will be held on October 1.

A number of protests against the policy of Spanish authorities with regard to the preparations for the independence referendum in Catalonia continue across Span's northeastern region on Thursday.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, who heads the pro-independence devolved government, said she hoped the Catalan and Spanish governments could hold talks to resolve the situation.

Among those arrested are Catalan government officials - including an aide to Catalan regional Vice-President Oriol Junqueras - and people linked to the organization of the referendum, which is outlawed by Spain's Constitutional Court. They are gathered in front of a regional court to show their disapproval of the detainments and reiterate their quest for independence from Spain.

Police have arrested at least 12 people in raids on Catalan government offices, ahead of an independence referendum authorities in Spain are calling illegal.

The Catalan regional government confirmed Josep Maria Jove, secretary general of economic affairs, was among those arrested.

Sturgeon said the Edinburgh Agreement, drawn up by the Scottish and United Kingdom governments before the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, could act as a template for others.

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