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Spain summons Catalan mayors over vote

Spain summons Catalan mayors over vote”

Jose Manuel Maza said that any of the municipal leaders who agreed to help stage next month's vote should be arrested if they fail to appear. "They're insane!", David Rovira, the pro-separatist mayor of L'Espluga de Francoli, a town of some 3,800 residents, told AFP by phone, adding that Madrid had "proposed nothing" to appease Catalonia's demands for greater autonomy.

On Tuesday, police were summoned to a Catalan court and ordered to seize any material related to the independence referendum.

Neus Lloveras, mayor of Vilanova i la Geltrú, in the province of Barcelona, and head of a pro-independence association, said the municipal leaders had been left totally stunned by the summons.

"We have nothing to hide".

But the small, anti-capitalist CUP group, which governs 19 Catalan municipalities, said it would not answer the summons, and called on other political forces to do the same.

This bill has since been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court, however.

As tensions over the independence referendum reach record heights, Spain's King Felipe VI made his first public statement since Catalonia's government passed a bill in their parliament that details the referendum and established an "exception judicial regime" in the wealthy north-eastern region of Spain.

Judges are now considering whether the legislation contravenes Spain's constitution, which states that the country is indivisible.

The website set up by the Catalan government to give information on the vote - referendum.cat - stopped working on Wednesday evening, with Spanish media reporting that the regional prosecutor had ordered all websites promoting the referendum to be shut down.

Pro-independence Catalan president Carles Puigdemont dubbed the move an "atrocity scarcely worthy of a democracy", and said he would attend Saturday's protest.

The officers of the Spanish Guardia Civil entered on Wednesday the office of CDMon company, which is responsible for the technical support of the website, and delivered the court order.



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