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Thousands More Spanish Police Arrive for Catalonia Crackdown

Thousands More Spanish Police Arrive for Catalonia Crackdown

The control of the Catalan police has become a sensitive topic as the political confrontation between the pro-independence regional government and central authorities has poured on to the streets of Barcelona and elsewhere in Catalonia.

News reports says Spanish police have arrested 12 people in raids on offices of the regional government of Catalonia as a crackdown intensifies on the region's preparations for a secession vote that Spain says is illegal.

Police and judicial authorities would give no details on the operation, saying a judge has placed a secrecy order on it.

The statement said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed.

The escalating constitutional row has seen Catalonia's devolved government determined to hold an unsanctioned vote on October 1 and Spain using increasingly heavy-handed tactics to prevent it.

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's president, called the vote in an attempt to push the secession movement forward after decades of political and legal fights over the region's traditions and language. Catalonia is home to 7.5 million people, or 16 percent of the population, but accounts for a fifth of the economy, on par with Portugal and Finland.

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.

Civil Guard police have arrested about a dozen regional Catalan officials and seized approximately 10 million paper ballots, dealing a severe blow to the organizers of the plebiscite.

"Madrid should allow some constitutional change; so, the Catalans could have the right to vote and Madrid should try to convince the Catalans to stay in Spain".

At Holyrood yesterday the first minister responded to a question about the situation from one of her backbenchers by calling for a dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish administrations.

The Catalan government said Saturday it would resist Madrid's measures.

Spain's central government says the planned referendum violates Spain's constitution. Earlier this week, the budget ministry took over management of Catalan's finances and will be making salary payments to more than 200,000 public workers in the region, including the police. Separatists are selling T-shirts with his face printed on them.


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