Spain shuts down Catalan independence sites
CATALAN authorities have accused the Spanish government of blocking websites aimed to spread information about the region’s independence referendum.
The move is part of a crackdown on the Catalan independence movement to prevent the vote.
Despite the national government’s confiscation of ballot papers and deployment of extra police to Catalonia, separatists hope the referendum will go ahead tomorrow to decide whether the autonomous region of north-eastern Spain should declare itself an independent country.
The Spanish government insists the referendum is illegal and is taking action to stop it, including stopping the spread of information seen to promote the vote.
Earlier this week, police summonsed 17 people for questioning over the development of web platforms related to the referendum. Police told AFP the people were suspected of “disseminating a website for people to participate in a referendum declared illegal”.
The .cat Foundation, which manages the register of domains ending in .cat, was forced by a court to block websites with information about the referendum, Politico reported.
A spokesman for the Catalan government told the Guardian the move was denying people the right to freedom of information online.
“What they’re doing by blocking domain name servers is doing what Turkey does and what China does and what North Korea does,” he said.
“No Western democracy does that.”
IN FAVOUR: University students rally in Barcelona.