Catalonia urges European Union intervention in independence vote dispute

Deal reached giving Italian group control of French shipyard

Deal reached giving Italian group control of French shipyard

These are the first ballot boxes to be seized by police in the crackdown on the referendum. Colau herself is against the region's independence, but condemns the behavior of Spain's "uncompromising government" by Prime Minister Mariano Rahoy, which she says has worsened relations with the Catalan authorities.

Spain's Constitutional Court, which previously ruled that only central authorities can call such a vote and all Spanish nationals should vote on sovereignty matters, has suspended the referendum.

"It is my obligation as mayor.to call on the European Commission to open a space for mediation between the Spanish and Catalan governments to find a negotiated and democratic solution", she wrote.

He told a news conference in Barcelona that he met with regional security officials in an effort to defuse tension surrounding the vote.

Mr Forn says the central government is deploying 10,000 police officers in Catalonia for the ballot. Teneo Intelligence's Antonio Barroso said the regional government could take several next steps.

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Students, like many other supporters of the vote, have defied the crackdown, saying they would occupy schools and universities that could be used as polling stations. "It's about standing up for our basic principles and rights". While I am no separatist and have even criticised the unilateral course taken by the Catalan regional Government, I am alarmed by the repressive measures the Spanish Government has been using to prevent the referendum of 1 October; a response that represents a "qualitative leap" within its own strategy for judicialising the Catalan conflict.

A report by Reporters Without Borders on Thursday said the regional government's drive to impose its side of the story in local, Spanish and worldwide media has "crossed the red lines". Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said of European Union officials four days before the secession referendum.

The Spanish government has been accused of "North Korean" tactics after trying to to stop Sunday's independence referendum in Catalonia, which it has branded "illegal".

"We are not just facing an institutional dispute but also a social and political conflict that clearly has to be resolved by political means", Colau said.

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