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Police Arrest High-Ranking Catalan Officials in Raids
Police Arrest High-Ranking Catalan Officials in Raids

Police Arrest High-Ranking Catalan Officials in Raids

Police Arrest High-Ranking Catalan Officials in Raids

Spanish police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials on Wednesday to halt a referendum on independence, an action the regional president said meant Madrid had effectively taken over his administration.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the regional government offices in the center of Barcelona’s tourist district, waving the red-and-yellow Catalan flag and chanting “Occupying forces out” and “Where is Europe?”
“The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia’s government and has established emergency rule,” Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said in a televised address, Reuters reported.
“We condemn and reject the anti-democratic and totalitarian actions of the Spanish state,” he said, adding that Catalans should still turn out in force to vote in the Oct. 1 referendum on a split from Spain that Madrid has declared illegal.
State police arrested Catalonia’s junior economy minister Josep Maria Jove on Wednesday in their first raid of government offices in the region, Catalan government sources said. The raid targeted several regional government departments.
A dozen high-ranking local officials were arrested, La Vanguardia newspaper said. The police confirmed they were carrying out raids connected with the referendum, but did not give details. The Catalan government sources could not confirm the other arrests.
Among the protesters outside the government office in Barcelona, was Carlos, a 47-year-old taxi driver.
“We’re here so they know they can’t do whatever they want,” he said as angry protesters bore banners saying “Democracy” and “Vote to be free”.
Police efforts to stop the referendum, which the central government says is illegal, have intensified in recent days as the wealthy northeastern region shows no signs of halting it.
Acting under court orders, police have raided printers, newspaper offices and private delivery in a search for campaign literature, instruction manuals for manning voting stations, and ballot boxes.

 

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