Spanish Court Suspends Catalan Law on Transition to Independence

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Spain's constitutional court on Tuesday suspended the law regulating the break-away of the autonomous region of Catalonia in the event of a Yes victory in the referendum on independence on October 1.

September 11 marks the 'Diada, ' Catalonia's national day, which commemorates the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714 and is traditionally used by pro-independence activists to call for secession for the northeastern region with a distinct language.

Specifically, they ordered police to confiscate items such as "ballot boxes, electoral envelopes, instruction manuals for members of polling stations, election flyers, election propaganda".

The chiefs of the Guardia Civil and National Police forces, as well as the Mossos, a regional policing squad controlled by the Catalan government, were called to the Barcelona prosecutor's office.

The Constitutional Court last Thursday suspended the referendum after a legal challenge by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

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"Police officers. will directly adopt the measures necessary to seize resources destined at preparing or holding an illegal referendum", the prosecutors said. The decision comes after the same court rejected the referendum call itself and the law that made it possible.

On Monday, hundreds of thousands of Catalans marked their national holiday by supporting the right to vote and become independent.

The Spanish government has vowed to stop the referendum going ahead on 1 October, but the Catalan regional government is refusing to back down and polls suggest a clear majority of people in the wealthy north-eastern region want to be allowed to vote.

That could put the Mossos in a tough position - by law they have to follow prosecutors' orders but they also depend directly on the regional government they have been ordered to act against.

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