Cops seal off booths to scuttle Catalonia vote


Teachers, parents, students and activists in this wealthy northeastern region have leapt into action to defend the vote slated for Sunday, defying Madrid's warnings of repercussions by occupying more than 160 schools designated as polling stations, it said.

The regional police force has been ordered not to use force in vacating the schools but Millo said anyone remaining after 6 a.m. will need to be removed.

-March 2014: Spain's Constitutional Court rules that Catalonia can't go ahead with a planned November 9 vote on its independence, as all Spaniards must be allowed to cast a ballot.

The Election Monitoring Committee has been disbanded, and thousands of police officers have been deployed to block entry to the polls.

Also on Friday, a judge on Catalonia's High Court ordered Google to delete a smartphone application which the Catalan government was using to spread information about the vote.

After the night spent in some schools selected for polling stations, the residents of Barcelona, supporters of the referendum, organized various activities to that end.

But, as has been mentioned, no can be sure what will happen if independence does come to the region.

If it does take place, and if the Catalan people vote "yes", Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said they would declare their independence within 48 hours, Reuters reports. "If it gets complicated we'll stay inside peacefully and they won't move us". "Then, if "yes" or "no", it's up to each person".

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A minority of around 40 percent of Catalans support independence, polls show, although a majority want to hold a referendum on the issue.

Fernando Satue, 67, a retired mechanic who was born in Huesca and has lived in Catalonia since he was 5, said that the mounting demand for independence has made him apprehensive about expressing his opinions in public.

Catalonia, one of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, has some 7.5 million people and includes the tourist-popular Mediterranean port of Barcelona, the country's second-largest city, which is home to a Catalan parliament and regional government. A pro-unity crowd also gathered in Barcelona. It is unclear how Catalan police will behave.

Across Europe, people are watching Catalonia's independence referendum closely and nervously - but quietly.

The Catalan government appeared to soften its language somewhat in a news conference Saturday, with officials talking of "peaceful resistance" and a peaceful demonstration of people's democratic rights. Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said such a ballot would be invalid and in violation of Spain's constitution.

"I think it's about democracy and liberty", Ramon Hernández, 80, said. The tractors eventually stopped, converging on the regional government building.

FC Barcelona have not spoken out yet about the consequences of the nation's potential independence.

The possibility that Catalonia would split off from Spain is very much like California's "Calexit" movement.