700 Catalan mayors back holding independence vote
A number of the mayors under investigation take part in a march, outside the Generalitat Palace, to protest against the ruling of the constitutional court ahead of
a planned independence referendum in the Catalonia region, in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept 16. (AP) More than 700 mayors from Catalonia met Saturday in Barcelona in a show of strength amid pressure from Spain’s central government not to hold an independence referendum for the northeastern region.
Political tensions in Spain are increasing as the proposed voting date of Oct 1 nears. The Catalan government has been scrambling to push forward the vote, despite the central government’s warnings that local municipalities are not allowed to use public buildings for it and mayors can be legally prosecuted for it.
Hundreds of mayors stood Saturday next to regional President Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau in Barcelona, the capital and main city in the region.
“We will not be intimidated. This is not about independence, it’s about our rights,” said Colau.
Puigdemont thanked the mayors for not backing down and insisted that most Catalans are determined to press ahead despite the ban.
“Do not underestimate the Catalan people,” he warned.
Catalonia’s regional police force is under orders to arrest the mayors if they refuse to appear for questioning in an investigation into the vote, which Spain’s constitutional court has suspended, State Prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza’s office said. (AP)