Crackdown on Catalonia referendum officials

Basque leader urges Madrid to allow independence votes

Basque leader urges Madrid to allow independence votes

The Catalan government is expected to hold snap elections if it loses the vote, which could imperil separatists parties' majority in the regional parliament.

"I will keep hoping until the last minute that the Catalan government has a change of heart and calls off the referendum", Millo said at a briefing in Barcelona Tuesday.

The eurozone and its single currency is facing big threats, as Catalonia votes whether to split from Spain - even though the referendum put on by separatists this weekend has been branded illegal by Spanish authorities.

Eighteen MSPs expressed "grave concern" at the actions of the Spanish state in a letter to Spain's prime minister.

Catalonia's prosecutor has ordered the regional police - known as the Mossos d'Esquadra - to take control of any voting booths by Saturday, a spokesman for the Madrid government's Catalan delegation said.

Officers from the Guardia Civil police force also paid a visit to several town halls to ask them to hand over documents related to the banned vote on October 1, the Association of Pro-Independence Municipalities told AFP.

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Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, malfeasance and misappropriation of funds, the order said.

Over in Madrid, hundreds of supporters of the referendum gathered in solidarity in Puerta del Sol square, which hosted scores of anti-austerity protests during the Spanish economic crisis.

"I bet you if you had accurate numbers and accurate polling, you'd find that they love their country, they love Spain and they wouldn't leave, so I'm just for a united Spain", Trump said.

But the unrelenting opposition from Madrid means such a result would go all but unrecognized, potentially setting up a new phase of the dispute.

However, the Catalan government maintained on Tuesday that the vote would still take place.

Many, including the central government, also say that a wide-ranging constitutional reform is also needed that would include specific articles to protect the Catalan language and culture and would be approved by a national referendum. He has promised to declare independence within 48 hours of a victory for the yes campaign.

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