700 may­ors defy Spain’s or­der on vote

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BARCELONA, Spain — 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.

AP/MANU FER­NAN­DEZ

Cata­lan may­ors gather Satur­day at the Gen­er­al­i­tat Palace in Barcelona, Spain, in de­fi­ance of the Span­ish gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to pre­vent a re­gional in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

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