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Cops seal off booths to scuttle Catalonia vote

01 October 2017

The Spanish government maintains that the referendum is unconstitutional and the country's Constitutional Court suspended the vote so it could consider the matter.

The Election Monitoring Committee has been disbanded, and thousands of police officers have been deployed to block entry to the polls.

On Saturday, Guardia Civil officers raided the Catalan government's telecommunications and information technology center, Joan Maria Piqué, the worldwide communications director for the government of Catalonia, told CNN.

Police have been ordered to stop ballots from being cast on Sunday and have been cracking down for days, confiscating ballots and posters. A company spokeswoman said Google removes content when it receives a court order.

Catalan police already have sealed off 1,300 polling stations, or more than half of the 2,315 locations.

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At the Congres-Indians school in Barcelona, designated as a polling place, activist Quim Roy said he would be sending his two daughters home before the deadline out of concerns about possible violence.

But, as has been mentioned, no can be sure what will happen if independence does come to the region. Parents had also arranged to sleep in shifts on site as an additional precaution, he said.

A majority of the region's residents do however support holding a referendum - so the vote could go either way. "Then, if "yes" or "no", it's up to each person".

The promised referendum will ask Catalans to answer yes or no to a single question: "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?"

Fernando Satue, 67, a retired mechanic who was born in Huesca and has lived in Catalonia since he was 5, said that the mounting demand for independence has made him apprehensive about expressing his opinions in public. A pro-unity crowd also gathered in Barcelona.

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How the 17,000 Catalan regional police respond to this order is regarded as key to the success or failure of the planned vote. However, Carles Mundó, Catalonia's minister of justice, told reporters there was no minimum participation level required for the referendum result to be binding. But Madrid snubs Catalan officials by refusing to grant greater financial independence to the region.

Spain's central government and Catalan authorities agree on devolving more powers to the northeastern region, including finance, health care and education.

The central government has shut down the electronic vote-counting system in Catalonia.

Catalan officials say they will proclaim a new republic within 48 hours of the ballot if a "yes" vote wins, regardless of the turnout.

"It's evident that the government's actions have changed some conditions, but what it hasn't changed, in fact what I think has improved, is will of the people to vote", said Puigdemont in an interview on Thursday with Spanish digital media outlet, eldiario.com.

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"There is nothing in worldwide law that gives any region a right to self-determination in a democratic state".

Cops seal off booths to scuttle Catalonia vote