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Catalan mayors remain silent during referendum interrogation

With less than two weeks to go for the scheduled referendum on secession from Spain by Catalonia, Spanish national police continue their searches for voting papers and ballot boxes to confiscate in an attempt to stop the vote.

Published: September 20, 2017, 11:22 am

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    Barcelona

    Spanish law enforcement have also rounded up the first group of Catalan mayors, and have brought them in for questioning.

    So far the attempt to question the pro-independence mayors have not gone too well, because the first group of Catalan officials brought in remained silent during questioning.

    This week three Catalan mayors were ordered to appear for questioning at provincial offices of public prosecutors, Catalonia’s Municipal Association for Independence (AMI) said on its website.

    Some 37 mayors have received a summons as part of a criminal probe ordered by Madrid before the October 1 vote. Spain’s public prosecutor has threatened to arrest the more than 700 mayors who support holding the independence referendum deemed unconstitutional by Madrid.

    Catalonia, the northeast region of Spain, is among the nation’s wealthiest regions, boasting a long history of autonomy. The government’s crackdowns before the referendum, have contributed to the growing movement calling for independence from Madrid.

    The Spanish government has threatened “extreme measures” to prevent a referendum to secede from taking place, and police efforts to prevent the vote so far have intensified. Spain’s Guardia Civil police force have confiscated a total of 1.5 million pro-referendum pamphlets and posters since Friday across Catalonia, it added in a statement.

    Spain’s central government on Friday have also threatened to freeze payments of essential services and public workers’ salaries in the region, but their measures to take control, will be challenged in Spain’s Supreme court by the Catalans.

    “Voting is not a crime,” Marc Solsona, one mayor, faced with charges of civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds, told Reuters as he left the state prosecutor’s office in Barcelona.

    “I‘m just the mayor and I have to serve my people. I am committed to the people being able to vote on October 1 in accordance with the law passed by the Catalan parliament and what happens to me is not important,” he said.

    All indications however are that Catalonia still intends to go ahead with the vote.

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