Catalonia independence vote IT systems 'shut down'

Pep Guardiola

"We must express a clear wish to have a mediation, regardless of the scenario, that the yes prevails or no", he told AFP.

Catalan daily La Vanguardia reported that the schools had planned activities such as pajama parties, dance classes, games, outdoor cinema and sports to keep everyone entertained as the clock counts down to Sunday's independence vote, which has been deemed illegal by Spanish authorities.

"What will not happen is that we'll be going with us and will deny our rights..."

Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the independence vote more than three weeks ago but Catalonia's regional government is pressing ahead with it and urging registered voters to take part.

Spanish police have closed off schools that were designated polling stations and occupied the Catalan government's communications hub on Saturday in an effort to stop voters from voting on a secession from Spain.

Speaking from a central Barcelona school, where adults and children slept in sleeping bags on gym mats, a separatist supporter who identified herself only as Giselle said: "We slept and waited for them (police) so that they would not try to evict us or tell us what they wanted".

"I think that from now it would be logical for the European Union to actively monitor (the situation) and actively take an interest", he said.

Should the vote take place, a "yes" vote is likely, given that most of the 40 per cent of Catalans who polls show support independence are expected to cast ballots, while most of those against it are not.

On September 20, Spain's military police also raided Catalan government offices, during which at least 14 junior officials and associates were arrested and nearly 10 million ballot papers were seized.

Catalan referendum vote police
Riot police clashed with voters on Sunday. Getty Images

Reporters, however, visited several schools occupied by parents, students and locals where people could go in and out freely, indicating there may be more occupied buildings that have yet to be sealed off.

The government is seizing ballot boxes, raiding Catalan government offices, arresting Catalan officials, sending thousands of extra police officers to the region and sealing off more than 1,000 polling stations.

On Saturday, Guardia Civil officers raided the Catalan government's telecommunications and information technology center, Joan Maria Piqué, the worldwide communications director for the government of Catalonia, told CNN. Parents had also arranged to sleep in shifts on site as an additional precaution, he said.

On Friday, a final rally was held in Barcelona.

The source said it would be up to the police how they remove people.

How the 17,000 Catalan regional police respond to this order is regarded as key to the success or failure of the planned vote.

The Catalan government appeared to soften its language somewhat in a news conference Saturday, with officials talking of "peaceful resistance" and a peaceful demonstration of people's democratic rights.

Catalonia has been always been in the process of trying to gain independence from Spain.

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