Farmers drive for Catalonia
says. “This secessionist process has been illegal from the start,” government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday.
“Since the referendum . . . won’t have any political consequence, pursuing it won’t do anything but extend the damage, the harm and the disintegration that it is already doing.”
Acting on court orders, police have confiscated about 10million ballot papers and some 1.3million posters advertising the referendum, and have blocked the distribution of ballot boxes.
The Catalan regional government and local civic groups insist they are entitled to exercise their democratic rights and intend to do so regardless of the obstacles.
Their grievances include what they say is Madrid’s ignoring of the region’s demands for a greater degree of fiscal powers.
With Barcelona as its regional capital, Catalonia contributes a fifth of Spain’s economy. On Friday, the Catalan government unveiled white plastic containers it said would be used as ballot boxes. A ban imposed by central government on international flights servicing airports in Iraq’s Kurdish region has gone into effect.
The ban has so far been the most significant escalation amid heightened tensions, largely marked by threats from Baghdad and neighbouring countries, following the controversial referendum on support for independence held by Iraq’s Kurds on Monday.
Hundreds of passengers lined up in the hours before an Iraqi government order that international airlines halt all flights in and out of the cities of Irbil and Sulaimaniyah in Kurdish territory kicked in.
The volume of passengers was higher than usual but no additional flights were added to ac-