Catalan leader says will proceed with October 1 independence referendum

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Posted: Sep. 22, 2017 8:00 am Updated: Sep.

The Spanish government has since ordered police raids on key Catalan government buildings to seize documents related to the vote and Catalan officials have been arrested.

The measure came amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned October 1 ballot.

However, neither the Catalan government nor the Catalan police force will accept the new leadership, according to Catalonia regional government's interior minister, Joaquim Forn.

The Catalan secession referendum is scheduled for October 1, and while police have been arresting officials involved, top regional officials say the vote will go on as scheduled.

An Interior Ministry statement said the extra police will provide backing for Catalan regional police who are also under orders to prevent the staging of the referendum.

Spain's Interior Ministry says the man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of helping the terrorists obtain the materials needed to make the explosives and had an especially close relationship with the radical imam. Officials in Madrid have been quietly hiring cruise ships to moor in the Port of Barcelona as temporary housing as they amass what El Correo newspaper said may be more than 16,000 riot police and other security officers before the planned poll. A statement said the six declined to testify.

They remain under investigation for disobedience, abuse of power and embezzlement in relation to the planned ballot and must appear before the court each week.

Meanwhile, hundreds more pro-independence supporters protested outside a courthouse in the north-eastern Catalan town of Hospitalet de Llobregat to demand the release of the arrested officials.

"The political reform of 1978 only legalized Francoism and disguised it as democracy", he said. They occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university officials.

The Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont on Thursday said he would press on with the referendum, flouting a court ban, as tens of thousands gathered for a second day on the streets of Barcelona demanding the right to vote.