Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

A woman holds an Estelada or Independence flag ahead of an event promoting the start of the campaigning for the ballot in Tarragona about 100 kilometres south of Barcelona Spain Thursday Sept. 14 2017 Spain Threatens 'Exceptional Measures' to Stop Catalonia Independence Vote
Melinda Barton | 17 September, 2017, 07:36

Folch said that the European Union expressed its readiness to recognize the results of Catalonia's upcoming independence referendum to calm down the financial market, as the bloc is afraid of economic instability which might be caused by the region's splitting from Spain.

Catalonia's regional government insists a vote will take place on October 1 but the Spanish government has vowed to block it, describing it as "unconstitutional".

Hundreds of regional mayors face arrest if they do not comply with prosecutors' orders to come in for questioning for helping to prepare the vote.

The mayors attended the rally in Barcelona with the city's mayor Ada Colau and Catalan's regional President Carles Puigdemont. Organizing the referendum will be almost impossible without the cooperation of local municipalities.

"We will not be intimidated. Of course, we would respect them", he said, adding that even though Catalonia might not immediately become an European Union member state, in the end, the people and companies would change nothing but their nationality.

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.

People wave independence flags in support of Catalan mayors under investigation.

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".

Police have also raided a printing house and several other premises in search of ballot papers and boxes as well as other materials to be used for the referendum.

They carried a large banner filled with "Yes" slogans, referring to the answer Catalan separatists want to give in the referendum that will ask voters whether they want the region to become an independent republic. Since July, Madrid has demanded weekly spending reports in an attempt to prevent public money being used for the referendum. Taxes, foreign affairs, defense and infrastructures are in the hands of Spain's central authorities.