Police will be deployed at polling stations to prevent people from voting in the Catalan independence referendum, the Spanish government has confirmed. Although the Catalonia regional government has insisted the unilateral poll will go ahead on Sunday, the Spanish government has vowed to stop the vote, which it says is a clear violation of the constitution. Spain’s constitutional court has suspended the legislation underpinning the referendum while it rules on its legality. A spokesman for the Spanish government’s Catalan delegation said on Tuesday that the region’s prosecutor had ordered the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, to take control of polling booths and identify those in charge. “The order has been conveyed and it will be executed with all normality,” he said.
The Spanish government said the steps it had taken over the past week, including raiding Catalan government offices, arresting 14 officials and seizing almost 10m ballot papers, meant the vote could not take place.
“Today we can affirm that there will be no effective referendum in Catalonia,” the Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo, told reporters on Tuesday. “All the referendum’s logistics have been dismantled.”
In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutor’s office said it would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.
Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, misuse of office and misappropriation of funds, the order said.