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Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

17 September 2017, 10:08 | Taylor George

Catalonia's regional government plans to hold a vote on independence on October 1

Catalonia's regional government plans to hold a vote on independence on October 1

Thousands of Basques holding banners that read "we want to decide" marched on Saturday (Sep 16) in support of Catalonia's independence referendum to separate from Madrid, which Basque separatists have long fought for.

Tensions are heating up ahead of the vote scheduled for October 1 despite opposition from Madrid and a Supreme Court ruling calling it illegal.

Nevertheless, 740 of Catalonia's 948 mayors have pledged to keep municipal buildings open for voting on the day, leading the Spanish public prosecutor to threaten them with arrest.

The mayors met Catalonia's regional head Carles Puigdemont in a show of defiance at the rally.

"We will not be intimidated".

If mayors and their municipalities can not help organize the balloting, the independence vote is unlikely to proceed. "This is not about independence, it's about our rights", said Colau. "Eighty percent of the Catalan citizenship is in favor of the referendum of self-determination to ask Catalans whether or not they want independence", Anna Arque from the EU Partnership for Independence told RT. It is unclear what arrangement was reached.

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Brandishing maces, chanting "we will vote" and singing "Els Segadors", the regional anthem, the mayors were cheered on by supporters waving yellow, red and blue Catalan flags.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected calls by Catalan officials for negotiations on a vote.

Spanish police on Saturday seized printing materials meant to support and promote the referendum near Barcelona.

All of this is just adding to the determination among Catalonians to see a referendum take place, and the central government's hostility is likely pushing more people into the leave camp all the time.

Spain's 17 regions pay taxes to the central government which then redistribute funds for local social security, police, emergency services and education.



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