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Things to Watch on Catalonia's Referendum

Things to Watch on Catalonia's Referendum”

Others in the crowd said they weren't Quebec separatists, but were present because they believe the Catalan government has the right to consult its population.

Meanwhile, hundreds more pro-independence supporters protested outside a courthouse in the north-eastern Catalan town of Hospitalet de Llobregat to demand the release of the arrested officials.

The Constitutional Court has suspended the vote after the central government challenged its legality.

But Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalan regional government, has said the referendum will go ahead.

The Spanish government has started a process to place all police work in Catalonia under Madrid control to stop the independence referendum on 1st of October.

Spain's Interior Ministry says a prosecutor has asked the government to coordinate law enforcement efforts to impede a planned referendum on Catalonia's secession from Spain.

The Spanish government has increased its suppression of the independence vote with the arrests of a dozen regional officials Wednesday and the seizure of 10 million ballot papers.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government is confident that there will be no referendum in Catalonia because "no democracy can accept the wiping out of the Constitution and the national sovereignty".

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They would join the roughly 5,000 state police normally stationed in Catalonia and around 17,000 Mossos officers.

Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro's order means that virtually all of Catalonia's public spending will be handled in Madrid and that no credits could be requested for non-essential payments.

Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1 trillion-euro (£970 billion) economy and enjoys wide self-government.

Prosecutors are singling out these leaders, whose groups actively support Catalonia's right to an independence vote on October 1.

"Today the government of Rajoy has crossed a very risky red line", Jordi Sanchez, president of Catalan National Assembly, a civic group leading the independence drive said.

Barcelona Football Club, which is popular around the world, waded into the controversy, too.

"As democrats and parliamentarians however, we must defend the right of peoples across the world to decide their own future and the right of elected representatives to carry out their duties to the people without fear of arrest".

Spanish media have said between 3,000 and 4,000 state officers have already arrived or are on their way, though the interior ministry did not give any numbers.



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