April 26, 2018

Madrid steps up crackdown on Catalonia referendum, takes control of police

25 September 2017, 12:27 | Simon Arnold

Catalonia closes ranks against Spain in referendum row

Catalonia closes ranks against Spain in referendum row

Forn says "we denounce the attempt by the state to intervene in the police forces of Catalonia".

Spain's public prosecutor named Colonel Diego Perez de los Cobos of the Civil Guard as police coordinator in charge of all anti-referendum policing operations for the Civil Guard, National Police, Catalan Police (Mossos) and local police in Barcelona on Saturday.

Forn said the head police officer of the Mossos d'Esquadra had expressed his opposition to the measure.

A man drives his taxi decorated with an estela flag and publicity supporting the October 1 vote in Barcelona, Spain Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

"The majority of the Catalans did not want independence until quite recently, but now 70 percent of the population in Catalonia want the referendum and many people that were in the middle now say "we want to vote".because this idea of trying to repress a movement is not going to support the unity of Spain", the analyst said on Friday night.

"They will be mandated to monitor public spaces and to maintain order, and they will act in the case of the illegal referendum", reads the statement of the interior Ministry. The region's 7.5 million inhabitants overwhelmingly favor holding a referendum, but are roughly evenly divided over independence.

"It would be sensible, reasonable and democratic to stop and say, there won't be a referendum, which they know won't happen", he said at one of his party's events.

Spanish officials had accused the Mossos (troopers) of not doing enough to disrupt preparations for the October 1 vote.

The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed. The ministry says the move is created to enhance coordination.

Some protesters said on social media that pro-independence politicians are expected to talk to the students at Barcelona University over the weekend.

Catalan National Assembly president Jordi Sanchez told the cheering crowds: "We will be here, peacefully but present, until all of the arrested walk out free".

The Catalan government has already vowed to push ahead with the referendum, which the Spanish government considers illegal - and on Saturday said it was refusing to hand over control of the Mossos d'Esquadra police force to Spain's Interior Ministry.

Hundreds entered the main building of Barcelona University and occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university managers.

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