Catalan students rally to defend independence vote

Chipper Henderson closes on Mozo in New Zealand Women's Open

The Spanish government's appointee in Catalonia says the technology infrastructure for voting and counting ballots from the region's disputed secession vote has been dismantled, making the referendum "absolutely impossible".

Dr James Summers is a Professor of International Law at Lancaster University.

The occupations appeared to be partly coordinated by a platform of "schools open for the referendum" which distributed a manual via social networks with instruction on how to occupy buildings and guarantee they are available to serve as polling stations.

The signatories pointed to the numerous "repressive measures" taken by the Spanish government to disrupt the referendum including the closing of websites "that provide information or commentary on the referendum".

Catalan officials have been told they'll "face consequences" if they defy Madrid.

Joaquin Forn said officials are determined to proceed with Sunday's vote, even though Spain's government says it is illegal and can not happen.

Catalonia's independence movement also received unexpected backing from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who recently won a referendum that consolidated his powers and has been criticized by the Rajoy government in Spain.

"Can we vote or not?"

Police have been ordered to stop ballots from being cast on Sunday and have been cracking down for days, confiscating ballots and posters.




At the same time, European Union officials say they will not mediate the dispute between Spain and Catalonia, calling it a matter of Spanish law. Spain's attorney general has warned that scores more could be arrested and prosecuted, including even the leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.

"Given the seriousness of the situation in Catalonia.it is my obligation as mayor of its capital, Barcelona, to call on the European Commission to open space for mediation between the Spanish and Catalan governments to find a negotiated and democratic solution to the conflict", she wrote in an editorial published in The Guardian newspaper. Or if the vote tilts toward independence, is it just the beginning of new round of negotiations with the central government?

The source added it would be up to the police how they remove people.

"Due to the threat of the sealing of schools, people from the educational community have organized themselves, not only here, but all over Catalonia, to make sure we can vote freely on Sunday", Miguel Angel Torrijos, a father of one of the school children, told RT's Ruptly news video agency.

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia's 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.

Despite pressure from the national authorities and La Liga officials, a lot of Catalan sportsmen, including Pep Guardiola, are in favour of the vote for independence.

Maite Lopez Sanchez, 55, who came to the protest with her daughter, said Spanish institutions should "explain better what they are doing to enforce the constitution".

On Friday evening, around 10,000 supporters of the referendum gathered off Barcelona's Placa d'Espanya, or Spain Square, as separatist leaders closed their campaign for the vote. It was not immediately clear how many potential polling stations were being occupied.

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