Catalonia Begins Independence Campaign as Spanish Government Threatens Crackdown
16 September, 2017, 01:09
Spain's public prosecutor has summoned more than 700 Catalonia mayors to appear for questioning over their support for a banned independence referendum.
Meanwhile, Spain's finance minister has said the central government has chose to take over payments of essential services in Catalonia.
"What do you think will happen on October 1st?" At his government's request, Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the Catalan referendum law.
This new system will allow the Spanish state to "replace the region for the majority of essential spending", he added.
The "yes" camp has two weeks to rally support for the vote and win over critics who are reluctant to take part in the referendum, which is due to take place on October 1.
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Nonetheless, those calling for independence are bullish not just about defying Madrid's legal obstacles but also about the result of the referendum.
Catalonia, an industrial region with a strong export sector and a thriving tourist destination, produces about a fifth of the country's total economic output but complains it receives a lot less back.
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In a TV interview Ms Sáenz de Santamaría warned that Civil Guard had ways to close down the new referendum websites set up after the authorities pulled the government's official referendum website on Wednesday.
"We are acting firmly to ensure the rights and liberties of everyone and will react to whatever the secessionists do", he said.
Among the most populated cities, many will not get involved, and question marks remain over the biggest of them all - Barcelona.
The letter called for "political dialogue, based on the legitimacy we all have, to make possible something that in a democracy is never a problem and even less a crime: listening to the voice of the people".
The letter accused the Spanish state of "an unprecedented repression offensive".
'They can not try to break the law and with no consequences, ' she said, after harping on the illegality of such a scrutiny, with which the Catalonian separatist government wants to proclaim a sovereign State in that region of 7.5 million inhabitants.
On Thursday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that in the event Catalonia gains independence, it would not be able to become an EU member state immediately after the referendum and would have to follow the same accession process to be admitted to the European Union as those countries that had entered the bloc since 2004.
Supporters of independence are celebrating already despite surveys indicating less than 50 percent of Catalonia's population want full self-rule.
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