Spain and Catalonia argue for control of regional police

Posted September 24, 2017

Catalan regional police officers stand in front of protesters who gathered in support of Catalan officials arrested in raids on government offices, outside a courthouse in Barcelona, Spain on September 22, 2017.

An Interior Ministry statement said the extra police will provide backing for Catalan regional police who are also under orders to prevent the staging of the referendum.

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 ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed.

"The majority of the Catalans did not want independence until quite recently, but now 70 percent of the population in Catalonia want the referendum and many people that were in the middle now say "we want to vote".because this idea of trying to repress a movement is not going to support the unity of Spain", the analyst said on Friday night.

"I feel the way people used to feel during Franco regime".

"The political reform of 1978 only legalized Francoism and disguised it as democracy", he said.

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An unusual aspect of his is that three ferries have been bringing police into the city of Barcelona en masse, and all are festooned with Looney Tunes characters, part of a promotion being run by the company that owns the ferries. They carried pro-independence flags and banners supporting the ballot. They occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university officials.

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan regional president, urged protesters on the streets in Barcelona to remain calm.

Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution allows the central government to take control of a regional administration if it poses a threat to the national interest.

Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1-trillion-euro ($1.32 trillion) economy and enjoys wide self-government.

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the October 1 vote while judges assess its legality, but Catalan authorities insist it will take place, and both sides have accused the other of acting illegally and undemocratically.

The region has about 5.5 million eligible voters, and polls consistently show the region's inhabitants favour a referendum but are roughly evenly divided over independence from Spain.