February 21, 2018

140 pro-independence websites shut down in Catalonia

30 September 2017, 03:57 | Christie Tate

140 pro-independence websites shut down in Catalonia

Catalans occupy polling stations ahead of referendum

Catalonia wants to hold a referendum on self-determination, which has been banned by Spanish justice.

At the end of the press briefing, Turull, Catalan Vice- President Oriol Junqueras and Raul Romeva, in charge of foreign relations for the Catalan executive, unveiled a plastic ballot box with a regional government stamp on it.

The pro-independence forces are vowing that the vote will go ahead in spite of efforts by Madrid to block it - in many cases literally.

The Russian social media outlet Voice of Europe (@V_of_Europe) has run such headlines as "The EU refuses to intervene in Catalonia even as Spain violates basic human rights", calling Catalonia's referendum "a time bomb that threatens to destroy the EU".

Mr Romeva accused the Spanish government of a "brutal crackdown" on Catalan officials to try to prevent the vote.

An global media watchdog, meanwhile, rebuked the Catalan pro-independence movement for placing undue pressure on journalists to present its side of the dispute.

For his part Ferran Mascarell, who represents the Catalan executive in Madrid, says there has always been resentment among Catalans who feel that Madrid holds them in contempt.

This principle was recently upheld by the Spanish Constitutional Court, which called for the referendum to be suspended.

These actions have provoked mass demonstrations and drawn accusations from Catalan leaders that the Madrid government was resorting to the repression of the Franco dictatorship.

But those who oppose independence, particularly the Ciudadanos party, believe it is about more than that.

Rand is marginally weaker ahead of central-bank rate decisions
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.28 percent, or 63.01 points, to close at 22,331.35 - its fifth consecutive record close. The European Central Bank, meanwhile, is expected to shed more light on plans to exit its extraordinary stimulus next month.

Forn says the central government is deploying 10,000 police officers in Catalonia for the ballot.

If Catalan independence wins at the polls (or what is left of them), the Catalan government has planned to nearly immediately trigger the process of separation.

For weeks, the state, its judges and police forces have pulled out the stops to stop the Catalan vote.

The Tory government of the Spanish state, headed by prime minister Mariano Rajoy, is gambling that its hard line against allowing a referendum will play well in other parts of Spain.

And it is virtually impossible to estimate the political impact the move would have. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he thought it would be "foolish" for Catalans to break away from Spain.

In an interview for the BBC, Spanish government spokesman IƱigo Mendez de Vigo blamed the Catalan government for the stand-off, suggesting it had been both inflexible and one-sided. Madrid insists that only the national Parliament can determine issues of sovereignty.

"Today we can affirm that there will be no effective referendum in Catalonia".

"We can change the constitution if there is a consensus in order to change it", he said. And why is that hard to solve?

The northwest region's separatist government plans to hold a binding referendum Sunday on breaking away from Spain.

"Parlem?" (Let's talk, in Catalan) asks a white sheet with black writing, hanging off one balcony on Madrid's iconic Gran Via Street.

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