Catalans occupy voting stations to defy Spain's order to stop referendum

Catalans occupy voting stations to defy Spain's order to stop referendum

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

It has attempted to dismantle the infrastructure needed to conduct the referendum on independence.

Where Do We Go Now?

According to the Spanish Government 1,300 of 2,315 schools have been closed as Spanish authorities stepped up their attempts to stop Sunday's referendum.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government said the majority of designated voting stations in Catalonia had been shut down to prevent the banned referendum from going ahead.

José Maria Salvatierra, a 55-year-old public worker serving as a polling coordinator at one school, told CNN that parents had planned activities such as soccer games and karaoke discos over the weekend so police would have no legitimate reason to close the schools.

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.

"I'm asking the Catalan president to call off the referendum, because if it happens he likely end in a situation in which he will have to appear before a judge", Millo said.

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?"

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Namely, Madrid activated all the legal remedies available to disable the vote, with the police confiscating millions of ballot papers and other material needed for voting, while the key members of the team that organized the referendum - were arrested. A government official said parents and students were "peacefully" occupying 163 schools.

On Saturday, a Catalan government spokesman said at least four police officers had entered the centre in Barcelona which controls the regional government's telecommunications and IT and were expected to stay there for two days.

The central government, which has sent thousands of police reinforcements to stop people voting and has attempted to dismantle the infrastructure needed to conduct the referendum it says is illegal, insisted it would not go ahead.

Any volunteer staffing a voting station with use of a census listing eligible voters would be liable for a fine of up to 300,000 euros, the government source said.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for FC Barcelona if Catalonia gets its independence.

"We must be sure there are lots of people present of all ages", they said in instructions disseminated on social media. It is unclear how Catalan police will behave.

Authorities have already confiscated 10 million paper ballots in the last few days - which will make it much more hard for Catalan officials to carry out an effective vote.

Catalonia in the northwest of Spain is home to 7.5million residents and the country's second city, Barcelona.

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