Published: Sun, October 01, 2017
Science | By Tyler Owen

Spain's Civil Guard Seizes 2.5Million Ballots for Catalan Independence Referendum

Spain's Civil Guard Seizes 2.5Million Ballots for Catalan Independence Referendum

Their call comes two days ahead of a controversial referendum over the region's secession, planned for Sunday (1 October).

Opinion polls show Catalans are split on the issue of independence, but a large majority want to vote in a legitimate referendum to settle the matter.

Nearly 10 million ballots were seized last week, although the whole population of Catalonia is a little more than 7.5 million, including those who are not eligible to vote. It also plays host to the economic powerhouse and cultural centre of Barcelona.

Polling stations will open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Piqué told CNN, with results expected around 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET). "It won't be easy, it won't happen over night, but why not?" she said.

Raul Romeva, Catalonia's foreign affairs councillor, condemned what he called "repressive measures", and said the Catalan government just wants to be able to negotiate with Madrid on an equal footing.

But we must also accept that we have a police force which must respect what the judges have said.

"The security forces that request ballot papers without a legal order adjusted to law will be denounced, if someone is stopped illegally we will take legal action, we will put resources against the orders that we consider contrary to law and will do everything in our hands".

Lorena Torrecillas, a 27-year-old physiotherapist who passed by the student protest, said she opposed independence because the pro-separatist camp had not explained well enough what the advantages of splitting from Spain would be.

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"We will vote!" and "Independence!" they chanted as they marched along the Gran Via, one of Barcelona's main avenues, blocking traffic.

Anti-independence Catalans have also been incensed by the involvement of schools, accusing education facilities of "indoctrinating" their children.

At a news conference, regional officials displayed one of the white plastic ballot boxes bearing the crest of the regional government.

But ANC and Omnium said Catalonia's priority for Sunday should be to present a responsible and united face to the world, even if that meant forming long queues without actually voting.

This sentiment echoes the position of the Catalan government, which vows there will be a vote. A company spokeswoman said Google removes content when it receives a court order.

In a striking rebuke of the Spanish government's attempt to repress Catalonia's upcoming independence referendum by shutting down websites, arresting politicians, seizing millions of ballots, and threatening to block polling stations, tens of thousands of students and activists took to the streets of Barcelona Thursday to express their support for the vote and denounce government efforts that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has characterized as "Franco-style" crackdowns.

A Mossos d'Esquadra's (Catalan regional police) officer talks to a Spanish National Police officer during a demonstration outside Government Delegation building in Barcelona, Spain Thursday.

Credit rating agency S&P said that while it did not it expect Catalonia, a wealthy region that borders France, to secede from Spain, protracted tensions between Madrid and Barcelona could have a negative impact on the country's economic growth outlook.

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