Police seize millions of ballots ahead of Catalan independence vote

Posted September 29, 2017

Over the past few days, judges and prosecutors have ordered the seizure of electoral material including millions of ballot papers, the closure of websites linked to the vote and the detention of key members of the team organising the referendum.

The mayor of Barcelona says the European Commission should mediate between the Spanish and Catalan governments to break a political deadlock over the future of the northeastern region. In her editorial, Calou blamed on Rajoy for escalating the conflict.

"We interpret the Catalonian authorities' so-called independence referendum scheduled for October 1, just as other unilateral initiatives by local legislators, in the context of the decisions on the issue by the Constitutional Court of Spain".

Speaking at news conference this morning in Brussels, Catalonia's Director of Foreign Affairs Raul Romeva said European Union authorities need to "understand that this is a big issue", adding that the Spanish government is committing a "brutal crackdown" on officials to prevent the referendum.

Catalonia's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, warned Wednesday that there was a risk of a "disruption of public order" if police sealed polling stations as they have been instructed to do.

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The students, many draped in red and yellow Catalan independence flags, chanted "We will vote" and "Independence".

"This is perceived by the Spanish state as an endorsement of the repressive actions" it is carrying out, said Romeva, who handles foreign affairs for the regional government.

Romeva accused the Spanish government of a "brutal crackdown" on Catalan officials to try to prevent Sunday's referendum, which Spain considers to be illegal, and that it's "generated an unprecedented level of shock". "However, given the political and legal barriers to Catalan secession, a compromise that simply grants the region more autonomy appears far more likely than independence", Jones said.

"At a time when the European project finds itself threatened by terrorism and an upsurge of xenophobic populism and isolationist policies in national states, Europe can not allow itself to adopt a passive position over the Catalan question, seeing that the events going on in Barcelona are affecting Paris, Madrid, Brussels and Berlin alike".