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Catalan police ordered to crack down on disputed ballot

27 September 2017

The Spanish prosecutor has previously warned that Catalan officials involved in the preparation of the referendum on independence could be charged with disobedience, abuse of power and embezzlement of public funds.

"It's a decision that is possible but we have not considered that we should take it", Maza said during an interview with Onda Cero radio.

The legislation underpinning the vote has already been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court.

Maza said officials have decided now isn't the right time for such an arrest, and that they're trying "not to be disproportionate".

They remain determined to hold the vote, saying the regional assembly in Barcelona will declare independence within 48 hours of a "yes" victory.

On Monday police summoned 17 people for allegedly developing web platforms dedicated to the banned referendum.

By focusing on polling stations, prosecutors appear to have put in place a plan that targets all the logistics needed to stage the referendum, which has been deemed illegal by Madrid.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had said earlier this month that the United States took no position on the referendum.

Spain has ordered Catalan police to clamp down on officials facilitating a contested independence referendum on Sunday.

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Polls show that Catalans are sharply divided over whether they want independence, but a large majority would like a legal referendum to settle the matter.

The visit comes as Catalonia's regional government attempts to hold a vote on independence from Spain, which could prove challenging for US companies who are invested in Spain and have operations in Catalonia.

However, a source told AFP news agency that the leader would stay in Spain ahead of the planned referendum two days later.

"Today we can affirm that there will be no effective referendum in Catalonia".

The election commission set up by Catalan separatists has resigned after Spain's Constitutional Court threatened to impose daily fines of 12,000 euros ($14,100).

They will be released pending further questioning by a judge, he said.

In a joint statement, Mas and the others said the ruling lacked "any kind of legal basis" whose only objective was to try to "intimidate" separatists.

He said: "It is not on my horizon to bring forward the elections whatever the result of this we are talking about".

The Catalan regional government has accused central authorities of imposing an "undeclared state of emergency".

Catalan police ordered to crack down on disputed ballot