Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could face arrest over referendum

Glen Mclaughlin
September 28, 2017

The separatists who now govern the wealthy region in northeastern Spain often make references to the short-lived 1931-1939 republic crushed by General Francisco Franco after a three-year civil war.

As a controversial referendum on the independence of Catalonia draws near, the Spanish government has expanded efforts to shut it down, even blocking access to some websites.

"I will keep hoping until the last minute that the Catalan government has a change of heart and calls off the referendum", Millo said at a briefing in Barcelona Tuesday.

As calls for independence grow in the Spanish region of Catalonia, President Trump on September 26 said he "would like to see Spain continue to be united".

Spain's central government and regional Catalan authorities argued this weekend over who controls the regional police force that is considered key to the success of a planned independence vote for the north-eastern region.

It is cracking down on organizers by threatening them with prosecution.

Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy has also gotten personally involved, stating that the vote "will not happen because this would mean liquidating the law" - setting up a tense confrontation in an already charged atmosphere. But the Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and went to the courts to shut it down.

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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. Hundreds of police reinforcements, including the national Civil Guard, have been brought into Barcelona and other cities.

These actions have provoked mass demonstrations and drawn accusations from Catalan leaders that the Madrid government was resorting to the repression of the Franco dictatorship.

"I'm just for a united Spain", said Mr Trump, who cast doubt on polling data predicting a "yes" vote for independence will win.

The independence movement is widespread enough that it is unlikely to dissipate if the regional government fails to convert a "yes" vote into a split from Spain.

Many had not yet received information about where or when they would be working after the state-run postal service was ordered to stop all mail related to the vote, a parliamentary spokeswoman for one separatist party said.

The Catalan government says it will unilaterally declare independence within 48 hours of a "yes" vote.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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