Up to 100000 Turn Out for Closing Rally Over Catalan Independence Vote

Up to 100000 Turn Out for Closing Rally Over Catalan Independence Vote

On Friday, Catalan farmers rode tractors through the streets of Barcelona, driving slowly and waving pro-independence flags and banners.

Catalonia is holding an independence referendum tomorrow, even as the central government in Madrid has vowed to do everything to stop the vote.

The government also announced it would block access to public buildings designated as polling stations.

The referendum, which is planned for Sunday, is considered by the central government as a violation of the constitution.

Aspirations for an independent Catalonia, Spain's economic engine, have surged and ebbed for generations.

"Do you want to know where you have to go to vote?"

Catalan authorities say they will declare independence within 48 hours after announcing the vote's results if the yes wins.

The corporation said it was complying with a court order.

Meanwhile the Spanish Agency for Data Protection advised that the 7,235 people who have been called to supervise the election face fines of between 40,000 euros (47,270 US dollars) and 300,000 euros (354,500 dollars) because according to the agency, as the referendum is not official, they "cannot deal with details of the census as members of an electoral table".

Up to 100000 Turn Out for Closing Rally Over Catalan Independence Vote
Up to 100000 Turn Out for Closing Rally Over Catalan Independence Vote

There is no electoral census, the board set up to oversee the vote has been dissolved, and parties against independence have called on their followers to boycott Sunday's vote. "It's a problem of respecting Spanish laws that Spaniards have to resolve", said European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

They waved Spanish and European Union flags, as well as the "Senyera" - the official Catalan flag of plain red-and-yellow stripes.

"I think it's important to talk on a political level" after the vote, he added.

Former Barca president Joan Laporta, who backs independence, shares that sentiment: "Barca versus Real Madrid is a very attractive product and trying to get rid of it would be an error on the part of the government, the league and the soccer federation", he said on Friday.

Oriol Junqueras said Friday that Catalan citizens will be able to vote on Sunday "even if somebody takes voting stations by assault and tries to avoid something as natural as placing a voting slip in a ballot".

Police have confiscated thousands of voting slips, and courts have fined and threatened to arrest regional officials.

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia's 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.

"Everything is prepared at the more than 2,000 voting points so they have ballot boxes and voting slips, and have everything people need to express their opinion", he told Reuters.



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