Catalonia, Kurdistan 'defending democracy': former Catalan leader

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2017

In his first public comments since the Catalan government signed a decree calling the referendum, Spain's King Felipe VI said the rights of all Spaniards will be upheld against "whoever steps outside constitutional and statutory law".

Like Kurds, the people of Catalan are eagerly waiting the referendum date.

So far 712 mostly smaller municipalities have agreed to participate, according to a list posted on the website of Catalonia's Municipal Association for Independence (AMI) which represents 750 municipalities.

Catalonia's regional parliament passed laws last week to prepare for a referendum on October 1. Such assurance is unlikely to materialise, and without Barcelona's participation, the referendum would lack legitimacy.

Pro-separatists are a minority in Tarragona, the capital of a province with the same name with a population of around 130,000, and several chemical and oil refineries.

The mayor of Barcelona - the region's most populous area - has yet to take a definitive position, and has asked for reassurances that civil servants involved in the process will not risk losing their jobs.

Six days after Kurdistan votes on independence from Iraq, the people of Catalonia will hold their own referendum on the issue of seceding from Spain.

Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy appealed to Catalans to ignore calls from independence supporters to turn out to vote.

Spain's state prosecutor office says he is investigating more than 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with a referendum on independence that has been suspended by a court, and has ordered police to arrest them if they don't comply.

"If anyone urges you to go to a polling station, don't go because the referendum can't take place, it would be an absolutely illegal act", Rajoy said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor is also focusing on ballots and campaigning, conducting searches at print shops suspected of printing material for the referendum.

But constitutional law professor Javier Perez Royo said it would be hard for the state to stop the referendum if huge numbers of Catalans disobey the law and vote.

Against this backdrop, several Catalan newspapers such as La Vanguardia, El Periodico, and even the pro-secession Ara, have declined to run adverts for the "Yes" side, which are only being broadcast on Catalan public radio and television.

"They can arrest us!"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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