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Homage to Catalonia

Mayors threatened, offices raided and posters confiscated as Spain cracks down on independence referendum

As we went to press, it wasn’t clear whether the regional government of Catalonia would succeed in holding its 1 October independence referendum – which has been declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

The independentistas are engaged in mass non-co-operation with the Spanish state. Dock workers in Barcelona and Tarragona refused to provide services to boats carrying over 5,000 armed police ordered to disrupt the referendum.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has waged a fierce campaign against the referendum. This has included raiding a newspaper and arresting the editor; shutting down several websites; arresting over a dozen local officials; raiding over 40 Catalan ministries and offices; threatening over 700 Catalan mayors with prosecution for making premises available as polling stations; confiscating over a million posters; and warning private media companies that if they carried advertising for 1 October, they could be prosecuted.