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UN Officials Condemn Spain's Violent Crackdown on Catalan Voters

UN Officials Condemn Spain's Violent Crackdown on Catalan Voters

The move follows a week of turmoil in the Catalan capital of Barcelona as the Spanish government continues its crackdown on the state's attempts to hold an independence referendum this coming weekend.

"Catalonia is voting on independence whether you like it or not".

Lines of tractors draped in the red-and-yellow striped Catalan flag left provincial towns on Friday, planning to converge on Barcelona in a sign of support for the referendum.

"Not political standards, not on political orders, but policing and professional standards", he said. The Spanish authorities say there will be no referendum, but the government of Catalonia is sure that it will take place.

This is one of the biggest political crises in Spain since the end of the Franco dictatorship 40 years ago. Activists are also reportedly printing ballots for the Sunday's independence referendum in a secret location.

"The majority of young people are separatists, and if they weren't, they have become separatist after seeing what Spain has done in recent weeks", 16-year-old high school student Aina Gonzalez told AFP.

The government has been compared to China, North Korea and Turkey, after blocking internet servers for websites containing information on how to vote in the referendum on Sunday.

The electoral board set up to oversee the vote has been dissolved, and on Wednesday a judge ordered police to prevent public buildings from being used as polling stations.

We live in an interconnected global reality; so what is happening in Barcelona is having direct effects on Madrid, Paris, London and Brussels.

He called the response "proportionate and rational", and said the security forces were "simply applying what the courts ordered them to do", which in turn were "simply applying the law".

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

"You do not need to share the Catalan regional government's roadmap to realize that the main party responsible for worsening the situation has been the intransigent government of Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy", Colau wrote.

And Catalonia's separatist executive has vowed to go ahead despite Madrid's ban.

Both sides told Amanpour they're ready to talk, but the divide over the referendum's legality has seemingly produced a wide gulf. "It is basically [about] how the Catalonians decide its future".

"Avoid the protests. Be vigilant", it said, following a similar advisory issued in France yesterday.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has also urged mediation from the European Union, despite herself being an opponent of secession from Madrid.

The operation was to "place electoral material in custody" on the orders of the Catalan Prosecutor's office so that it could not be used in the Catalan independence referendum scheduled to be held on October 1, which the Spanish Constitutional Court has ruled illegal.

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