Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Spanish police arrest Catalan minister during raid

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Sammy Stanley | 22 September, 2017, 00:22

Those who back the referendum to settle the hotly contested issue dispute this, citing the mandate the Catalan government has, the principle of self-determination in worldwide law, and "anti-democratic violations of civil rights" including freedom of expression, assembly and political organisation.

The Constitutional Court has suspended the vote after the central Government challenged its legality.

Why do some Catalans want independence?

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia's 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.

Catalan leader accuses Spain of "totalitarian attitude" and "unlawful" arrest of officials.

Among the supporters of independence is Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

"They have been chanting slogans such as, "The streets are ours", a clear determination that they think that one of the ways they can force through this referendum, despite the growing police action, is to try and mobilise, get out there and maintain a presence in these public spaces".

A survey commissioned by the regional government in July showed 49.4 percent of Catalans were against independence while 41.1 percent were in favour.

Now they have taken a step further in arresting Catalan officials.

"It is of course entirely legitimate for Spain to oppose independence for Catalonia".

This month, after a heated session of the regional parliament, MPs passed the so-called referendum law to pave the way for the vote.

A ministry statement said the measure will run initially from Wednesday until October 5 — four days after the planned referendum, which Spain says is illegal and won't be allowed.

What does the Spanish government say about all this?

But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has described the independence movement as intolerable. As per the referendum, Catalan residents would be able to vote for independence from Spain.

"More concretely, according to Germany's Supreme Court "there is no room under the constitution for individual states to attempt to secede". Other, current members of the Catalan government are facing legal action over their roles in the push for independence.

In response, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the regional government offices, which are in the centre of Barcelona's tourist district.

Spain has been desperately trying to find ballot boxes and papers to seize before the referendum, anything that might prevent it from taking place.

Police were searching the Catalan government's offices of economic affairs, foreign relations and the presidency, the spokesman said.

Accompanied by his ministers and speaking from the gothic gallery in the Palaceo of the Generalitat in Barcelona, Mr Puigdemont said Madrid "has crossed the red line that separated it from the repressive governments" and enacted a "de facto suspension of Catalonia's self-government and has de facto applied the state of emergency".

An estimated 40,000 people blocked the entrance to the Catalan economy ministry late into the night.


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