Spanish Government Intends to Take Over Policing From Catalonia

Catalonia closes ranks against Spain in referendum row

Spain will deploy police reinforcements to Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain takes place, officials have said.

Spanish Police vans are parked next to a ferry ship, rented by the Spanish Interior Ministry to house National Police and Civil Guard police officers, at Barcelona port on September 24, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.

Catalan regional interior Ministry Joaquin Forn said Friday that the central government in Madrid was planning to take control of the Mossos, after Colonel Perez had attended a meeting in Barcelona.

Catalonia's regional government said new measures including a ban on police time off were over the top and meant to create a false impression of crisis.

Catalonia is among the wealthiest regions in Spain, and aggressive police tactics are fueling growing outrage among the population, who see it as an insult.

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the October 1 vote while judges assess its legality.

The Catalan police, Madrid claims, have not been complying with their instructions to clear protesters away from government buildings. He said the measure "does not mean taking command" of the Catalan police, but it is "simply to agree on a means of coordination".

Spain's latest attempt to prevent the Catalans from voting on independence next week risks making the situation in the region more risky. All the arrested this week had been released by Friday, although six of them remain under investigation for allegedly helping in the logistics for the vote.

Thousands of people supporting a contested referendum to split Catalonia from Spain took to Barcelona's streets amid an intensifying government crackdown on the independence vote that included the arrests of a dozen regional officials Wednesday and the seizure of 10 million ballot papers.

Several hundred students have spent the night inside a Barcelona university to protest the government's efforts to stop a referendum over Catalonia's secession from Spain, local media reported today.

"It is very important for this process to have students on our side because we are really going to put this forward and go to independence", another explained.

Bigio warned that the incarceration by the central government of regional officials and protesters in Catalonia will inflame the tensions and make the independence seekers sure to go ahead with the secession plan.

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