jh-siesta.com January 22, 2018

Catalan independence referendum 'is BIG risk to the euro'

28 September 2017, 12:11 | Nellie George

Spanish Attorney General: Puigdemont Could Face Arrest

Madrid and Barcelona clash over control of the Catalonia police force

Police in Catalonia said Monday they questioned 15 people accused of disobedience for allegedly developing web platforms dedicated to an outlawed independence referendum, as tensions rise less than a week before the vote. "There can't be a valid democratic referendum", Rajoy said of Catalonia's upcoming vote.

Speaking days after Spanish police arrested 14 Catalan officials, seized nearly 10m ballot papers and chartered ferries to accommodate the thousands of extra police officers who are being sent to Catalonia to stop the referendum, Maza rejected suggestions that the government was being heavy-handed.

The chief prosecutor in Catalonia ordered police to seal off buildings that will house polling stations before the day of the referendum and deploy officers on the day of the vote to prevent ballots from being ast.

For its part the Catalan regional government said the vote will go ahead and it sent out notifications to Catalans to man polling booths.

Over the weekend, Madrid announced it would centralize the command of all police operations in Catalonia, including the region's autonomous Mossos d'Esquadra police force.

Many are carrying pro-independence flags and signs calling for the October 1 independence vote that the Spanish government calls illegal and has pledged to stop.

But separatists have pressed ahead anyway, vowing to declare independence if the "Yes" wins.

Privately, however, diplomats are anxious about Madrid's decision to deploy thousands of police and arrest leading members of the pro-independence Catalan regional government, believing this crackdown will only play into the hands of the independence movement.

The Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid said the order to note down the personal details of officials was given to police by the top state prosecutor in Catalonia. "We will exercise our powers to guarantee security and public order and be at the service of citizens".

The timing of Rajoy's visit suggests Spain was hoping to get Trump to endorse their moves against Catalonia, at a time when many European Union nations are trying to avoid public comment on the matter. That support has been waning in recent months as Spain's national and regional economies have begun thriving.

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