Spanish President Asks Trump to Oppose Catalonia Independence Referendum

Spanish President Asks Trump to Oppose Catalonia Independence Referendum”

"It's a decision that is possible but we have not considered that we should take it", he added.

"The leader of the Catalan police will not hand over his functions", he said. Francesc Vidal, a 16-year veteran of the force known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, described the referendum planned for October 1 as a "train collision" between Spanish authorities desperate to stop what they consider an illegal vote and Catalan separatists who insist that the balloting go forward.

Many observers believe the most likely outcome of the current independence campaign will be another snap election, paving the way for talks between central and local government including a potential constitutional reform to better accommodate Catalonia within Spain.

Over the weekend, Madrid announced it would centralize the command of all police operations in Catalonia, including the region's autonomous Mossos d'Esquadra police force.

And police have seized close to ten million ballot papers, as well as other items destined for the vote.

A referendum on whether Catalonia should secede from Spain is putting intense pressure on the region's police officers, who feel caught between their oath to the nation's constitution and loyalty to local leaders who have vowed to create a new European state.

"We will continue working like we've done until now", said a statement posted on the Mossos official Twitter account.

Prosecutors have also told police to investigate any efforts to promote the referendum and ordered a criminal investigation of over 700 Catalan mayors who have pledged to cooperate with the vote. According to the UK Express, over 750 local mayors are now under investigation for supporting the independence movement.

Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza said Carles Puigdemont could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds for pressing ahead with preparations for the October 1 referendum. Catalan officials responded by essentially accusing the Spanish state of going insane in its zeal to crush the independence referendum.

If the "yes" side wins it has said it would declare independence within days for the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, home to about 7.5 million people. "I confirm that there will be ballot boxes and ballots, as well as something even more important for holding a referendum: voters", he told radio station France Inter.

Police in Catalonia said Monday they questioned 15 people accused of disobedience for allegedly developing web platforms dedicated to an outlawed independence referendum, as tensions rise less than a week before the vote.

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