Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

SNP ministers give backing to referendum on Catalan independence

SNP ministers give backing to referendum on Catalan independence

More than 700 mayors from across Catalonia gathered in Barcelona to confirm their support for a planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

Hundreds of mayors stood Saturday next to regional President Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau in Barcelona, the capital and main city in the region.

But more than two-thirds of mayors catalans are already committed to open ir municipal premises for voting, convened on 1st of October by executive to independence of this region of north-east of Spain. On Friday, Catalonia's highest court also issued a warning to seven local newspapers not to print any notices for the independence referendum.

"It's a disgrace that we have a government that is incapable of dialogue and instead dedicates itself to pursuing and intimidating mayors and the media", Colau said.

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Organisers said 35,000 people rallied in the northern city of Bilbao - a symbolic protest in a region still marked by decades of violence once waged by armed separatist group ETA, and where the desire for independence remains strong. "Eighty percent of the Catalan citizenship is in favor of the referendum of self-determination to ask Catalans whether or not they want independence", Anna Arque from the EU Partnership for Independence told RT. It is unclear what arrangement was reached. During regional elections in 2015, secessionists had gained 47.6% of votes (but a majority in seats), and camp supporting maintenance in Spain 51,28 %.

In response, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said, "I say this both calmly and firmly: there will be no referendum, it won't happen".

Catalonia's regional government insists it will take place as scheduled despite a growing clampdown by the Spanish state, the report added.

Spain's Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said a mechanism has been approved to allow central government to take over the funding of most essential public services in Catalonia.

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