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Spanish Police to Take Over Catalan Polling Stations to Thwart Independence Vote

Spanish Police to Take Over Catalan Polling Stations to Thwart Independence Vote

The Spanish government said on Tuesday regional police will take control of any voting booths before a Catalan referendum on independence this weekend which it deems illegal.

Sources from the ongoing investigation into the referendum bid told Efe news that among the sites seized by police was that of the Catalonian National Assembly (ANC), an organisation that promotes the region's independence from Spain which later confirmed, however, that its web page was still accessible through its European Union domain name (.eu).

The Spanish government says it is upholding the court's order by trying to prevent the vote.

On Monday - a day before Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is scheduled to meet with President Trump at the White House - I read Nauert's remarks to Sanders and asked if the USA would endorse an independent Catalonia after the controversial vote Sunday.

The Spanish administration on Tuesday started cracking down on preparations to hold an independence referendum for the autonomous community of Catalonia, reported AFP. The separatists who now govern the wealthy region in northeastern Spain often make references to the short-lived 1931-1939 republic crushed by General Francisco Franco after a three-year civil war.

The Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid said the order to note down the personal details of officials was given to police by the top state prosecutor in Catalonia. "I think it would be foolish not to, if you're talking about staying with a truly great, attractive and very historic country".

As a controversial referendum on the independence of Catalonia draws near, the Spanish government has expanded efforts to shut it down, even blocking access to some websites.

Calling the referendum "anti-democratic and illegal", the deputy PM insisted that it "would not be possible" to happen.

These actions have provoked mass demonstrations and drawn accusations from Catalan leaders that the Madrid government was resorting to the repression of the Franco dictatorship.

But the unrelenting opposition from Madrid means such a result would go all but unrecognized, potentially setting up a new phase of the dispute.

"Both [statements] show a worrisome degree of ignorance about events in Spain", said Ruperez, also a former assistant United Nations secretary general. "They are excluding half the population", Dastis said.