Thousands rally against Catalonia vote

Kelvin Reese
October 1, 2017

"If the yes wins, if the no wins - in any scenario there must be mediation because things aren't working", he told AFP.

A poll conducted by The National, a Scottish daily in favor of its own independence from Britain, and carried out over three weeks through Thursday, showed that with the Spanish boycott against the referendum in place, 62% of voters said they were energized to turn out.

The police have sealed 1,300 of the 2,315 schools in Catalonia designated as polling stations on the eve of a banned independence referendum, a Spanish government official said on Saturday.

Although the Spanish government has the strong support of the United Kingdom government in its struggle with Catalonia, there is a frustration in Madrid that the British experience with the Scottish referendum has led to political sympathy for the Catalan demand for a legally recognised referendum.

"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.

The crisis has sown divisions among Catalans, with the region deeply split on independence, even if a large majority want to be allowed to settle the matter in a legal vote.

Yoga sessions, film screenings and picnics have been organised at some of the 2,315 voting facilities which referendum supporters are trying to stop police shutting down.

Earlier, Millo said Civil Guard agents acting on a judge's order searched the headquarters of CTTI, the Catalan regional centre in charge of technology and communications on Saturday.

Spain's central government has declared the vote illegal and sent thousands of police reinforcements to prevent people from voting.

Gerard Piqu

"But we also know that they have feelings, conscience", he said.

On Friday, Catalan farmers rode tractors through the streets of Barcelona, driving slowly and waving pro-independence flags and banners.

The police deadline of 6 a.m. Sunday for the activists, parents and children in the occupied Catalan schools is created to prevent the vote from taking place, since the polls are supposed to open three hours later.

Less than a tenth of schools were occupied by parents, the source said.

At one Barcelona school which is preparing to serve as a voting location, at least five or six families are camping out.

The Catalan police, or Mossos d'Esquadra, who are monitoring the schools, are held in great affection by the Catalan people, especially after Islamist attacks in the region in August that killed 16.

Despite central government and court efforts to stop the referendum, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Friday it would go ahead, with no last-minute compromise.

Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions, of which Catalonia is one.

The Catalan government appeared to soften its language somewhat in a news conference Saturday, with officials talking of "peaceful resistance" and a peaceful demonstration of people's democratic rights.

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