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Catalonia referendum: Schools occupied ahead of vote

01 October 2017, 12:48 | Jermaine Blake

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Tensions rose across the country over the planned vote. In Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander, Alicante and Valencia, thousands protested for Spanish unity.

More than half of schools earmarked as polling stations for a banned referendum on Catalonia's breakaway from Spain have been sealed off by the police.

People supporting the referendum have camped out overnight in schools in an effort to prevent an order by the head of the Catalan regional police to evacuate and close polling stations by 6am tomorrow, before the voting is due to open at 9am.

After Rajoy met with his cabinet in Madrid, his government repeated its pledge that the referendum wouldn't happen.

Spain's foreign minister said that the Catalan government's plan is anti-democratic and runs "counter to the goals and ideals the European Union" is trying to advance. "It is a mockery of democracy, a travesty of democracy", Dastis said. Three dozen people were in the square around improvised food posts and terraces decorated with pro-referendum and pro-independence posters. In a later update, the ministry didn't provide a new figure but only said "some" schools remained occupied.

The source said it would be up to the police how they remove people. Catalans have their own culture and language, and for the past two years, their political leadership has been promising citizens a vote. The central government said airspace above the city would be partly restricted.

"They can always put a makeshift table in the street with some buckets and put papers in", he said.

Numerous British commentators have suggested that the Spanish government should follow the example of Cameron's coalition government, which granted the Scottish people a referendum.

Schools and other polling stations had been occupied by activists. He said his supporters would cast ballots on Sunday as planned. The Guardia Civil were stationed on ships in the port of Barcelona in case they were needed. Roy said, referring to the Spanish national guard.

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"A lot of things have been said, and at the end there will be violence", Mr. Satue said. I won't resist, but they will have to carry me out'.

It's uncertain how organized and widespread any ballot will turn out to be on Sunday - and analysts are split over whether anything will take place - but it's seen as a constitutional crisis for the Spanish government that is set to rumble on.

Roy said there were no ballot boxes or ballots yet at the school but he was not anxious about that.

Barcelona's Joan Brossa high school, for instance, advertised a series of activities including film screenings, football matches and Zumba dance fitness classes.

But still separatist leaders are determined to hold a vote with a semblance of legitimacy on Sunday.

The Catalonia independence referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish constitution, is due to take place at the start of October.

Catalonia in the northwest of Spain is home to 7.5million residents and the country's second city, Barcelona. "We told them we were inside and in peace", she told Reuters news agency.

Carles Puigdemont, the catalan, the 13 September in Barcelona.

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

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