Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

Hundreds of mayors from the Spanish region of Catalonia marched through the streets of Barcelona in an act of defiance to the central government's crackdown on the upcoming separatist referendum.

Nevertheless, 740 of Catalonia's 948 mayors have pledged to keep municipal buildings open for voting on the day, leading the Spanish public prosecutor to threaten them with arrest.

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo says officials are not ruling anything out in reaction to the planned Catalonian referendum on independence, saying the government is prepared to take "exceptional measures" to stop the vote.

Puigdemont and Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau have written to Rajoy and Spain's King Felipe, complaining of "an unprecedented repression offensive" but calling for political dialogue.

Mr Puigdemont thanked them for not backing down and insisted that most Catalans are determined to press ahead with the referendum despite the ban. Organizing the referendum will be almost impossible without the cooperation of local municipalities. "Eighty percent of the Catalan citizenship is in favor of the referendum of self-determination to ask Catalans whether or not they want independence", Anna Arque from the EU Partnership for Independence told RT.

Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

She pointed to the Edinburgh Agreement, signed in the build-up to the Scottish independence referendum, as to how governments can work together in such circumstances.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected calls by Catalan officials for negotiations on a vote.

Police in recent days have conduced raids seizing printing materials, ballots and other materials to support the referendum.

The Catalan government plans to hold a referendum on self rule for the wealthy northeastern region on October the 1st.



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