“The only thing I ask of (Catalan) mayors is that they comply with the law, and as such don’t participate in an illegal referendum,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged this week, calling for a return to “rationality and legality” and promised to block the vote.
However, as Reuters reports, the mayors are not complying…
More than 700 mayors from across Catalonia gathered in Barcelona on Saturday to confirm their support for a planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.
The mayors met with Catalonia’s regional head Carles Puigdemont in a show of defiance, following Spanish prosecutors warning earlier this week that officials engaging in any preparations for the vote could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds.
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who has reached an agreement with the Catalan regional government to allow voting in the city, criticized Madrid’s response to the crisis in a short speech in the city hall.
“It’s a disgrace that we have a government that is incapable of dialogue and instead dedicates itself to pursuing and intimidating mayors and the media,” Colau said.
So far, 740 of 948 municipal leaders have said they would allow municipal spaces to be used for the referendum, according to the Association for Municipalities for Independence (AMI).
The searches are part of a concerted effort by the government to prevent the ballot from going ahead, amid fears that a vote to break away could trigger a political crisis even if Spain does not recognize the outcome.
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