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Catalonia Referendum: Spanish Police Deployed to 'Neutralize' Polling Stations


"They say they defend democracy, but that's not the case".

Madrid considers the referendum against the 1978 constitution, which states Spain is indivisible, and the constitutional court has ordered the vote be halted while its legality is determined.

Maza said that the head of regional government could face legal consequences for disobedience, breaching public duties and misuse of public funds for proceeding with the plebiscite after Spain's Constitutional court suspended the legislation that is the basis of the vote.

Oliver Jones from Capital Economics said: "In Spain, a referendum on Catalan independence is set to occur on 1st October".

The Spanish prime minister asked Catalan officials to return to "common sense" while Trump dubbed any attempts to separate from Spain as a foolish step.

And police have seized close to ten million ballot papers, as well as other items destined for the vote.

They are cracking down on organisers by threatening them with prosecution.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Rajoy declared that the independence vote "would mean liquidating the law" and vowed that the referendum would not go ahead.

Although Catalonia enjoys a certain measure of autonomy, separtists have long campaigned for independence for a wealthy region with its own language and cultural traditions.

Over in Madrid, hundreds of supporters of the referendum gathered in solidarity in Puerta del Sol square, which hosted scores of anti-austerity protests during the Spanish economic crisis.

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 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. 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.

If Catalonia favours a split, the pressure on Madrid to allow an official vote will grow, according to analysts.

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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