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Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure

17 September 2017

Protesters carry Esteladas, Catalan separatist flags and Basque flags, during a rally in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain for the autonomous community of Catalonia, in the Basque city of Bilbao, Spain September 9, 2017.

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo says officials are not ruling anything out in reaction to the planned Catalonian referendum on independence, saying the government is prepared to take "exceptional measures" to stop the vote.

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.

Hundreds of regional mayors face arrest if they do not comply with prosecutors' orders to come in for questioning for helping to prepare the vote. "That is why they try to maintain stability and calm down the economic market", Folch said.

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If mayors and their municipalities can not help organize the balloting, the independence vote is unlikely to proceed.

Puigdemont and Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau have written to Rajoy and Spain's King Felipe, complaining of "an unprecedented repression offensive" but calling for political dialogue.

The separatists are majority in regional parliament since 2015, but Catalan society is very divided on question of independence, according to opinion polls. Catalonia's top court has also warned seven newspapers against publishing campaign material.

"The only thing I ask of mayors is that they comply with the law, and as such don't participate in an illegal referendum", Rajoy said.

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The Spanish government is committed to preventing referendum declared unconstitutional by courts.

Scotland's External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "All peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs, a principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter".

The "No" side won in the Scottish independence referendum.

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Catalan mayors defiant over independence vote pressure