June 19, 2018

Catalan Mayors defy courts ahead of referendum

17 September 2017, 10:08 | Devin Moran

A'Estelada at a demonstration to support Catalan pro-referendum mayors

A'Estelada  at a demonstration to support Catalan pro-referendum mayors

People wave independence flags in support of Catalan mayors under investigation.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is not backing down however.

More than 700 mayors of Spain's Catalonia region have been summoned by a court in Madrid for questioning over the independence referendum scheduled for October 1.

Spain considers the vote illegal, as does its Constitutional Court.

More than two-thirds of the autonomous region's mayors have said they will facilitate the vote and allow municipal buildings to be used, in violation of Madrid's orders.

Instead, armed police are raiding random newspapers across Catalonia looking for voting papers, and are out in numbers hoping to stumble across ballot boxes to undermine the vote.

If mayors and their municipalities can not help organize the balloting, the independence vote is unlikely to proceed.

"I think it's very sad".

"They want to denounce the anti-democratic attitude of the Spanish state", she added.

The European Union is more concerned about its own economic well-being, which could be harmed by Catalonia's secession from Spain, than about recognizing a newly-independent country on Europe's map, Enric Folch, worldwide secretary of the Catalan Solidarity Party, told Sputnik.

However, not all the localities have thrown their support behind the referendum, including Barcelona.

Catalonia is sharply divided, with a government poll in July finding that 41.1 percent of people were for and 49.4 percent against independence, although the vast majority agree to holding a referendum to decide the matter.

They carried a large banner filled with "Yes" slogans, referring to the answer Catalan separatists want to give in the referendum that will ask voters whether they want the region to become an independent republic.

According to July poll, only 41 percent of Catalans favor independence but almost 70 want a vote.

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