Catalan Mayors defy courts ahead of referendum


With cries of "We will vote" and " Independence", more than 700 of 948 mayors of Catalonia have shown, Saturday 16 September, in Barcelona, ir determination to organize a referendum of self-determination for ir region, despite legal proceedings.

The mayors attended the rally in Barcelona with the city's mayor Ada Colau and Catalan's regional President Carles Puigdemont.

Tensions are heating up ahead of the vote scheduled for October 1 despite opposition from Madrid and a Supreme Court ruling calling it illegal.

Ms Hyslop said: "The decision over Catalonia's future direction is a matter for the people who live there, and the Catalan and Spanish Governments are perfectly entitled to take positions for and against independence". The central government wants to know if they will help the regional government by allocating municipal spaces to the voting process.

If mayors and their municipalities can not help organize the balloting, the independence vote is unlikely to proceed.

"We will not be intimidated".

" We are not criminals, " said many elected officials, including Josep Sole, 74, mayor of village of Maso (300 inhabitants) member of Association of municipalities for independence. It is unclear what arrangement was reached.

They carried a large banner filled with "Yes" slogans, referring to the answer Catalan separatists want to give in the referendum that will ask voters whether they want the region to become an independent republic.

Police have also raided a printing house and several other premises in search of ballot papers and boxes as well as other materials to be used for the referendum.

Catalonia's top court on Friday issued a warning to seven newspapers not to publish campaign notices for the referendum, a court spokesperson said.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is bringing the full weight of the state to bear to prevent Catalonia's independence referendum.

Spain's Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said a mechanism has been approved to allow central government to take over the funding of most essential public services in Catalonia.