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Catalan parliament defiant as referendum ballot box revealed

Catalan parliament defiant as referendum ballot box revealed

He said Catalan officials, mayors and journalists were being subjected to harassment by the central government in Madrid. "If you can't access the voting stations, by no means should you respond with violence", the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) said in an internal document distributed to members Thursday.

Madrid has also asserted direct control over the regional police force, the Mosso d'Esquadra, formed after Catalonia was granted limited autonomy in 1979.

"After the official proclamation of the results, which should take a few days. there is a period of 48 hours to proclaim independence but this does not exclude the possibility of us making yet another appeal on the night of the 1st for the need to sit down and talk to resolve this politically", President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont said today.

The Spanish region is holding an independence referendum on Sunday with major economic implications for the country - and Europe.

They are determined the vote will go ahead as planned, despite concerted opposition from the Spanish government, which has declared it unconstitutional and ordered regional police to take control of voting booths.

Meanwhile, an global media watchdog rebuked the Catalan region's pro-independence movement for placing undue pressure on journalists to present its side of the dispute. "I really think the people of Catalonia would stay with Spain".

The Spanish government has fought the referendum with a myriad of legal actions criticised by many in Catalonia.

However, this is not the first time Catalonia has aimed to become independent. The Catalan sports minister insists Barca, Espanyol and Girona will have to decide where they want to play after La Liga chief maintains they can not be part of Spain's top flight if the region goes it alone.

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Cherry also made reference to the silence of Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party on recent developments, saying: "I do wish the Labour Party would have the guts to speak up in support of the Catalans".

Raul Romeva, Catalonia's foreign affairs councillor, condemned what he called "repressive measures", and said the Catalan government just wants to be able to negotiate with Madrid on an equal footing.

"It's no longer about calling for independence". However, this move, described as a "political atom bomb" could trigger even more backlash in Catalan society.

But the push for independence in Catalonia is much more than a modern, debt-crisis-induced phenomenon.

David Alendete, an investigative reporter with the newspaper El Pais, said the conference was organized by a Russian lawyer who is defending Russian computer hackers arrested in Spain and is wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the hacking of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential election campaign in the U.S.

Madrid's culture minister Iñigo Mendez de Vigo, acting as spokesman for Spain's cabinet, accuses the secessionist coalition ruling the northeastern region of bending the laws to go ahead with a vote regardless of warnings from courts and a suspension by the country's Constitutional Court earlier this month.

However, that would require constitutional changes and is not the desired option for the majority of Spaniards, although a poll conducted for Catalan Radio station RAC1, suggests around 80 percent of Catalans would like to vote legally.


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