Spain sends more police to Catalonia to block referendum
Spain sends more police to Catalonia to block referendum
Catalan govt admits referendum blow but vows to press on
24 September, 2017, 00:36
Police say the cell had acquired at least 100 kilograms of highly explosive acetone peroxide (TATP) and planned to fill vans with it in order to blow up various important landmarks in Barcelona.
MADRID-Spain will send more state police to Catalonia to block any moves to hold a banned independence referendum, the interior ministry said on Friday. Each of the ferries has a capacity of over 6,500 passengers.
The protesters gathered outside the High Court demanding that the leaders be freed, while a Catalan government spokesman said eight of the 14 people arrested had been released.
On the same day that the mass protest took place, the CNP raided several Catalan government offices using a court mandate, confiscating between nine and 10 million blank ballots to be used in the upcoming referendum.
The interior ministry has not disclosed how many more police officers it is sending to the region but Spanish media said between 3,000 and 4,000 had already arrived or were on their way.
An Interior Ministry statement said the extra police would provide backing for the Catalan regional police, who are also under orders to prevent the staging of the referendum.
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Diego Pérez de los Cobos, a colonel in Spain's Civil Guards, was named "technical director" on Saturday to supervise the work of the Civil Guards, National Police and the "Mossos", a local Catalan police force, El País reported.
They would join the roughly 5,000 state police normally stationed in Catalonia and around 17,000 Mossos officers.
Visitors to Barcelona are being warned of demonstrations in the city that could disrupt travel. The Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended while it studies its legality.
Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1-trillion-euro ($1.32 trillion) economy and enjoys wide self-government.
Catalonia's president Carles Puigdemont issued a statement late Thursday saying the referendum would be held "because we had prepared some plans to protect ourselves from any eventuality and guarantee the vote". They have also said the Catalan assembly would declare independence within 48 hours of a "yes" vote. The region has about 5.5 million eligible voters.
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