Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Catalan mayors support holding independence vote

Catalan mayors support holding independence vote

More than 700 mayors gathered in Barcelona Saturday to march through the streets of Catalonia's cosmopolitan capital.

On Friday, the Spanish government threatened to take away Catalonia's budget to prevent spending on the referendum.

Earlier, Spain's Constitutional Court suspended legislation passed in the Catalan parliament which paved the way for the vote.

In a show of defiance, the mayors met Catalonia's regional head Carles Puigdemont though Spanish prosecutors had warned that officials engaging in any preparations for the vote could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds.

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".

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. Organizing the referendum will be almost impossible without the cooperation of local municipalities. It's more than just indignation to see the democratic degeneration of the Spanish state and this feels bad.

The European Union is more concerned about its own economic well-being, which could be harmed by Catalonia's secession from Spain, than about recognizing a newly-independent country on Europe's map, Enric Folch, worldwide secretary of the Catalan Solidarity Party, told Sputnik.

However, not all the localities have thrown their support behind the referendum, including Barcelona.

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's external affairs secretary, said "all peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs". He added that if Catalonia gains independence, it will not be able to become an EU member state immediately after the referendum and will have to follow the same accession process to be admitted to the European Union as those countries that had been entering the bloc since 2004.

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