700 Cata­lan may­ors back hold­ing in­de­pen­dence vote

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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)

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