Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

More than 700 mayors from across Catalonia gathered in Barcelona to confirm their support for a planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

Madrid has pulled out all stops to prevent the Catalan referendum from going forward, including threatening to arrest mayors who facilitate the vote, ordering police to seize any item that could be used for the plebiscite and tightening control over the region's finances.

Puigdemont and Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau have written to Rajoy and Spain's King Felipe, complaining of "an unprecedented repression offensive" but calling for political dialogue.

The Catalan government has been scrambling to press ahead with the vote, despite the central government's warnings that local municipalities are not allowed to use public buildings and mayors can be legally prosecuted for it.

"We will not be intimidated".

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She pointed to the Edinburgh Agreement, signed in the build-up to the Scottish independence referendum, as to how governments can work together in such circumstances. It is unclear what arrangement was reached.

Ms Hyslop said: "The decision over Catalonia's future direction is a matter for the people who live there, and the Catalan and Spanish Governments are perfectly entitled to take positions for and against independence".

In response, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said, "I say this both calmly and firmly: there will be no referendum, it won't happen".

Instead, armed police are raiding random newspapers across Catalonia looking for voting papers, and are out in numbers hoping to stumble across ballot boxes to undermine the vote.

The nationalist protests are not only a show of solidarity with Catalonia's mayors, but a push back on several Spanish government attempts to censure the referendum that Catalan lawmakers announced on September 6. Taxes, foreign affairs, defence and infrastructures are in the hands of Spain's central authorities.

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