World Bulletin / News Desk
Just two days ahead of an independence referendum in Catalonia opposed by Madrid, Catalan leaders sought Friday to dissipate doubts over how it can go ahead despite a crackdown on preparations for the vote.
At the end of the press briefing, Turull, Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras and Raul Romeva, in charge of foreign relations for the Catalan executive, unveiled a plastic ballot box with a regional government stamp on it.
The authorities in Madrid have instructed police to ensure no votes are cast as they tackle one of the biggest political crises to hit Spain since democracy was restored in the 1970s following the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco.
Police have for days been seizing electoral items such as ballot papers but they have so far failed to find any significant number of ballot boxes.
Over the past few days, judges and prosecutors have also ordered the closure of websites linked to the vote and the detention of key members of the team organising the referendum.
The electoral board set up to oversee the vote has dissolved itself to avoid costly fines, and on Wednesday a judge ordered police to prevent public buildings from being used as polling stations.
Opinion polls show Catalans are split on the issue of independence, but a large majority want to vote in a legitimate referendum to settle the matter.Last Mod: 29 Eylül 2017, 15:16