December 16 2017

Tensions heat up before Catalan independence vote

December 16 2017, 03:07 | Frederick Owens

Pep Guardiola won nine league championships and 3 European Cups Champions League titles during 2 stints at FC Barcelona. Getty Images

Pep Guardiola

A Spanish sports minister claims that Barcelona could join the Premier League if Catalonia gains independence from Spain.

Spanish police plan to remove voters from polling stations for Catalonia's independence referendum, an informed government source says.

Yoga sessions, film screenings and picnics were organised at some of the 2,315 voting facilities which referendum supporters were trying to stop police shutting down.

Talking about who among the Catalonians wants complete independence from Spain, Bartomeus said that these people are mainly Catalan speakers who were born in Catalonia and whose parents were also born there.

Spain's central government said Friday that the regional Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, would be responsible for removing people from polling stations in a nonviolent way.

He ruled out any possibility of "an effective referendum, with legal guarantees and binding in the way that the Catalan regional government has promised".

"I'm asking the Catalan president to call off the referendum, because if it happens he likely end in a situation in which he will have to appear before a judge", Millo said.

Students and parents have occupied schools throughout Catalonia in an attempt to secure them as voting centers ahead of Sunday's proposed independence referendum, according to local media on Saturday.

The Election Monitoring Committee has been disbanded, and thousands of police officers have been deployed to block entry to the polls. The block has only warned Catalans that if they were to secede from Spain they would have to apply for European Union membership, which Madrid would have authority to block.

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

He said he planned to stay home on Sunday, in part out of fear of unrest.

Another option would be the creation of a Catalan football league but, since this would be a new competition in the eyes of UEFA, they would require a brand new coefficient - affecting qualification for the Champions League and other UEFA competitions.

"Both sides have been very stubborn, the Spanish and the Catalan, and the only victims are going to be us", Mr. Satue said.

The atmosphere was different in Catalonia's regional capital Barcelona on Friday night, as huge crowds turned out to show their support for the independence campaign.

In addition, after a court order obtained by the Spanish government, Google said it has removed the app Catalan leaders planned to use to assist voters in finding their polling station during the referendum.

Despite the tension in the region, demonstrations by independence campaigners have been largely peaceful.

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

According to the results of the survey, the vast majority of Catalan citizens, despite the deep divisions over independence, are eager to go to the referendum and finally resolve the issue. Fears of violence during these protests have only grown, as pro-independence websites have been blocked and Catalan officials have been arrested.

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