Students Occupy University of Barcelona to Demand Independence Vote

Pauline Gross
September 23, 2017

Visitors to Barcelona are being warned of demonstrations in the city that could disrupt travel.

Earlier in the week, the Catalan government accused Madrid of essentially taking over the regional administration after federal police raided its offices and arrested officials.

The central government is waging myriad legal battles to halt the October 1 referendum called by the pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia, in northeastern Spain.

Spain's Europa Press news agency and other media outlets said the raids Wednesday mostly targeted the region's economic and foreign departments as Spanish authorities worked to halt all preparatory moves for the planned October 1referendum.

The ruling PP government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and major opposition parties in Madrid have declared an independence referendum illegal and against Spain's constitution.

The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed.

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The Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont on Thursday said he would press on with the referendum, flouting a court ban, as tens of thousands gathered for a second day on the streets of Barcelona demanding the right to vote.

A pro-independence group said about 2,500 supporters were at the protest in Hospitalet.

Catalan National Assembly president Jordi Sanchez told the cheering crowds: "We will be here, peacefully but present, until all of the arrested walk out free".

They remain under investigation for disobedience, abuse of power and embezzlement in relation to the planned ballot and must appear before the court each week.

The political uncertainty in Catalonia has reportedly forced the country's government to postpone its push in parliament to approve the 2018 budget as Spain's Basque nationalist party (PNV) has, for the time being at least, apparently threatened to withdraw its support.

Other reports by GizPress

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