Catalan Mayors defy courts ahead of referendum

We will vote say 700 Catalan mayors in protest

We will vote say 700 Catalan mayors in protest

Madrid has rejected the unilateral vote planned for October 1, but separatist politicians launched the Yes campaign on Thursday as they press ahead with the vote despite a court ban and a criminal probe into three out of four Catalan mayors actively supporting it.

Madrid has pulled out all stops to prevent the Catalan referendum from going forward, including threatening to arrest mayors who facilitate the vote, ordering police to seize any item that could be used for the plebiscite and tightening control over the region's finances.

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More than 700 mayors gathered in Barcelona Saturday to march through the streets of Catalonia's cosmopolitan capital. Organizing the referendum will be almost impossible without the cooperation of local municipalities.

Police in recent days have conduced raids seizing printing materials, ballots and other materials to support the referendum.

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And hundreds of Catalan mayors have been summoned for questioning over their support for the vote. "Eighty percent of the Catalan citizenship is in favor of the referendum of self-determination to ask Catalans whether or not they want independence", Anna Arque from the EU Partnership for Independence told RT.

Colau has said she reached agreement with the regional government to allow the vote in Barcelona "without putting institutions or public workers at risk".

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The nationalist protests are not only a show of solidarity with Catalonia's mayors, but a push back on several Spanish government attempts to censure the referendum that Catalan lawmakers announced on September 6. Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said on Friday that the central government would take over the funding of most essential public services in the region unless Puigdemont guaranteed public cash was not being used to fund the referendum.

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