Spanish police plan to remove voters from polling stations for Catalonia's independence referendum, an informed government source says. Police seize 10 million ballot papers in a crackdown.
Credit rating agency S&P said that while it did not it expect Catalonia, a wealthy region that borders France, to secede from Spain, protracted tensions between Madrid and Barcelona could have a negative impact on the country's economic growth outlook.
Parents and pupils were occupying the schools so police could not dismantle polling stations in them.
He ruled out any possibility of "an effective referendum, with legal guarantees and binding in the way that the Catalan regional government has promised".
"It's evident that the government's actions have changed some conditions, but what it hasn't changed, in fact what I think has improved, is will of the people to vote", said Puigdemont in an interview on Thursday with Spanish digital media outlet, eldiario.com.
Google has now removed the "On Votar 1-Oct" app from the Play Store following a ruling by Spanish courts.
They also joined farmers who, in the columns of tractors that flared the Catalan flag, gathered in Catalan cities in support of a referendum on the independence of the Spanish province.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has said any vote on Catalan secession would have to be held across all of Spain, not just in Catalonia. Thousands of extra police have been deployed to the northeastern region with orders to evacuate and shut down potential voting stations by 6 a.m. on Sunday. He said other parents planned to do the same.
At a press conference Friday, Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras said that if "someone closes a polling station, there is an alternative for citizens to vote", without giving further details.
"The measures we are witnessing are worrying because they appear to violate fundamental individual rights, cutting off public information and the possibility of debate at a critical moment for Spain's democracy".
Several officers from the Civil Guard state police, or Guardia Civil, had earlier on Saturday raided the Catalan technology and communications centre where the software for the electronic counting system is held. The Spanish government has fought the measure and declared the vote illegitimate.
-Sept. 11 2012: On Catalonia's national day, a huge turnout provides a show of force for the independence movement.
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