PAU BARRENA | AFP | Getty Images
People hold Spanish flags and a banner reading ‘Government of Spain, comply with and enforce the constitution: article 155 now’ during a demonstration organised by the Spanish right-wing party Vox in front of the Spain Government Delegation in Barcelona, on September 6, 2017.
Spanish police have occupied the Catalan government’s communications hub on the eve of a banned independence referendum which Madrid is attempting to thwart, the regional authority said on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of Catalans are expected to vote in a ballot that will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain’s Constitutional Court and Madrid has sent thousands of police to the northeastern region to stop it taking place.
But Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont told Reuters on Friday that the referendum would go ahead regardless.
“Everything is prepared at the more than 2,000 voting points so they have ballot boxes and voting slips, and have everything people need to express their opinion,” Puigdemont said.
On Saturday a Catalan government spokesman said at least four police officers had entered the center in Barcelona which controls the regional government’s telecommunications and IT and were expected to stay there for two days.