Catalan students rally to defend independence vote

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Catalan students rally to defend independence vote

Catalan police closed 1,300 schools, which were due to become polling stations for the region's independence referendum as a response to region's government instructions how to occupy them.

Police have sealed off 1,300 of 2,315 schools in Catalonia designated as polling stations for the region's banned independence referendum, Spain's central government says.

Catalan police officers report the activities organized by parents in a school at the Gracia neighbourhood in Barcelona, on September 30, 2017.

"We are people who have experience with difficulties, and every difficultly makes us stronger", he said.

With firefighters and farmers vowing to protect polling stations, Catalonia's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, have warned of the risk of "disruption of public order" if they try to prevent people from casting ballots. Voters must show peaceful resistance to police action, organisers said. "Even if someone attacks a polling station, Catalans will still be able to vote".

Police have been ordered to stop ballots from being cast on Sunday and have been cracking down for days, confiscating ballots and posters.

Spain is likely to deploy thousands of national police officers, now stationed on board two cruise ships docked in Barcelona's port, to disrupt any voting, and ultimately to guarantee Spanish sovereignty over Catalonia, our correspondent says.

"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.

Spain's Constitutional Court has outlawed the vote, and the Spanish government has made clear that it will never change the Constitution to allow Catalan independence. The court has taken the complaint under review, outlawing the plebiscite.

The Catalan government has insisted it will press ahead with Sunday's disputed plebiscite in the wealthy northeastern region, which is home to 7.5 million people, despite a crackdown by Madrid which wants to prevent a vote ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

Catalans who spoke to CNN in Barcelona stressed that they want the freedom to exercise their democratic right to hold a vote, whatever the outcome.

Catalan officials say they will proclaim a new republic within 48 hours of the ballot if a "yes" vote wins, regardless of the turnout.

The Spanish government forced Google to block an application which provided information to the citizens on where and how to vote.

In Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander, Alicante and Valencia, thousands protested for Spanish unity. Or if the vote tilts toward independence, is it just the beginning of new round of negotiations with the central government?

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday that there's no way the regional administration will pull off its plan to hold an illegal referendum on independence on Sunday.

Puigdemont did no say directly who should mediate Spain's internal feud but indicated that the European Union should fill the void.

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