Bank Of Spain Warns Catalonia Independence Referendum Could Hurt Economy

Stickers in favor of the banned referendum

Many protesters are carrying pro-independence flags and handmade banners, with slogans such as "we want to vote".

Catalonia's interior minister vowed that a disputed referendum on independence from Spain will take place peacefully.

Earlier this year, Catalonia's ex-president Artur Mas was banned from holding public office for two years, and was given a hefty fine, for disobeying Spain's constitutional court over the non-binding independence vote in 2014.

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, sent a letter to 27 mayors of European Union capital cities, explaining the serious situation that Catalonia is going through after the interventions by the Spanish government, understanding that what is happening goes beyond a merely Spanish conflict and affects the whole of Europe.

I wish to inform you then that I shall be calling on the European Commission to open a mediation space for the Spanish government and the Catalan regional government to take part in, and I would like you to convey this call, as far as possible, to every authority you consider appropriate.

Senior Spanish government officials said authorities had done enough to prevent a meaningful referendum as Catalonia lacked an election commission, ballot boxes, ballot papers, a transparent census and election material.

He told a news conference in Barcelona that he met with regional security officials in an effort to defuse tension surrounding the vote. The force's loyalty has been torn between the central and regional governments.

Thousands of striking university students are marching through Barcelona to protest what they call an intensifying central government crackdown on Sunday's planned independence referendum in Catalonia.

After police axed the original referendum website, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont published two new web addresses located in the United Kingdom and Luxembourg yet both were immediately closed by court order.

The watchdog added that Spanish authorities' legal measures against Catalan media to stop the spread of information about the referendum have contributed to an atmosphere of extreme tension.

"We are not just facing an institutional dispute but also a social and political conflict that clearly has to be resolved by political means", Colau said.

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