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25 September 2017, 12:24 | Tara Lloyd
President of the Catalan Government Carles Puigdemont
JOSEP LAGO AFP Getty Images
Spanish police have arrested Catalan officials who were involved in organizing the October 1 vote and they also seized electoral material, including ballot papers and ballot boxes.
Diego Pérez de los Cobos, a colonel in Spain's Civil Guards, was named "technical director" on Saturday to supervise the work of the Civil Guards, National Police and the "Mossos", a local Catalan police force, El Paísreported.
Spain's Interior Ministry says that a state prosecutor has asked for the central government to coordinate the policing efforts to impede the referendum on Catalonia's secession from Spain.
This decision is legally justified by a 1986 law, which allows central government to take over the control of a regional police force "when they consider it necessary".
"That (the referendum) can not be held in the circumstances that we wanted is obvious", he said.
Spain's Interior Ministry canceled time off and scheduled leave for Civil Guard and National Police officers who are being deployed to ensure the vote doesn't happen.
At the demonstration outside the Catalan regional ministry of economy, protester Charo Rovira said she felt sad at the turn of events.
The central government is waging myriad legal battles to halt the October 1 referendum called by the pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia, in northeastern Spain. He said the measure "does not mean taking command" of the Catalan police, but it is "simply to agree on a means of coordination".
Spain's interior ministry said on Friday it was sending more state police to Catalonia to maintain order and make sure a banned referendum on independence does not take place.
Also on Friday, a Catalan regional judge ordered the release with restrictions of six people arrested on Wednesday in a crackdown on referendum preparations.
"We are showing that, as students, we have a part to play", student spokesman Jordi Vives told Catalan public television.
"It is very important for this process to have students on our side because we are really going to put this forward and go to independence", another explained. That support has been waning in recent months as Spain's national and regional economies have begun thriving again.
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His televised statement came as Spain's Finance Ministry said it was imposing further controls over the Catalan government's finances to ensure no public money is used for the referendum.
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