Spain orders Catalan police to SHUT DOWN polling stations

THE Spanish authorities have ordered Catalan police to shut the polling stations ahead of the independence referendum, which it deems to be illegal, in a desperate bid to tighten Madrid's control on Catalonia.Senior public prosecutor of Catalonia José Maria Romero de Tejada has ordered the head of the Mossos d'Esquadra - the Catalan police - to have his officers close off the centres to be used as polling stations for the referendum before September 30 until after 9pm on October 1 - the day of the referendum.The order, seen by the Catalan publication El Nacional, states police must block the vote “whatever it takes” while instructing them to not let anyone open the centres and if they do to evict them.Any material that Mossos find relating to the referendum is to be confiscated and they must identify everyone inside the centres helping to enable the vote.Mossos must also prevent any voting points being established in the streets within 100 metres of any centre.Mr Romero de Tejada required Mossos to seize anything they find related to the referendum, "especially ballot boxes, computing equipment, voting slips and election documentation or propaganda".The order also says "evicting, if necessary, any people there are in the placed planned for the vote" and asking police to identify the leaders and participants of the occupation, and anyone involved in opening sealed-off centres.And the order also asks the Mossos not to let the polling stations be set up at 7.30am on Sunday as planned "with the objective of preventing the organisation of the vote, and as a means also to prevent later problems of public order, using a specific team at each voting place to be deployed before the designated time."The move will, once again, put Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s conservative administration in Madrid on collision course with that of the Spanish north east region that wants a referendum on whether or not to declare itself a republic and breakaway from the rest of Spain.


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