Catalonia Prepares for Referendum That Spanish Government Vows to Stop


A parade of farmers' tractors rolled into Barcelona on Friday in support for Catalonia's independence vote as Catalan and Spanish authorities issued conflicting statements on whether the disputed referendum would even take place on Sunday. Police confirmed that 163 of these were being "peacefully" occupied by people who would be allowed to leave, but no-one will be allowed in.

The Central government in Madrid is trying nearly everything it can to stop Sunday's independence referendum in Catalonia, a stand-off that is quickly escalating into a volatile constitutional crisis for Spain and a worrying symptom of coming apart for all of Europe.

Demonstrators calling for Catalan independence gathered in hundreds of towns across the region on Sunday following Madrid's actions last week to try to block a referendum on self rule that it considers illegal.

Carles Puigdemont presides over the regional government separatist of Catalonia, who defies the government and the Spanish justice, taking into Sunday this referendum prohibited as unconstitutional.

He said the agents disabled software created to connect more than 2,300 polling stations and to share results, as well as applications for voting online.

The regional government's telecommunications centre has also been occupied by police. Of the around 2.3 million Catalans - less than half of those eligible - who vote, more than 80 percent choose secession.

The autonomous region handles policing and some health and education policies, but Spain runs key areas like taxes, defense and ports.

The central government insisted Sunday's poll will not go ahead as police sealed off a swathe of schools which had been designated as polling stations.

That Catalan superior court on Friday ordered Google to "eliminate from the Google Play service" an app created to help Catalans know where to vote.

TOPSHOT - People wave "Estelada" flags during the closing meeting of the Catalan pro-independence groups and political parties that campaign for "Yes" in the upcoming October 1 referendum on self-determination in Catalonia, in Barcelona on September 29, 2017.

Catalan newspapers reported Saturday that the Mossos were going to schools where polling was set to take place and informing people there that if they were not holding legitimate activities, the facilities would be closed.

Prior to the vote, Madrid launched a crackdown on Catalonia, local government buildings were raided and top-ranking Catalonian officials, including Junior Economy Minister Josep Maria Jové, were arrested over referendum documents.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for FC Barcelona if Catalonia gets its independence.

The Spanish federal government has filed a complaint with the country's Constitutional Court over the Catalan government and parliament approving the law on the independence vote.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 state police officers from other regions of Spain have arrived or are on their way to Catalonia. "I have contradictory sentiments", said Barca season ticket holder Dam Calderon, also a member of Seguiment.

There are just two days left until an independence referendum in Catalonia.