Spanish police seal off Catalan polling stations

The lack of fans in the Nou Camp which has a capacity of 99,000 seemed not to harm Barcelona

The lack of fans in the Nou Camp which has a capacity of 99,000 seemed not to harm Barcelona

Opinion polls show that Catalonia's independence is supported by 41 percent of its residents, with 49 percent against it, and while as much as 80 percent of Catalans are in favor of the referendum, a lot of them believe that the vote should be agreed upon with the central government in Madrid.

A Spanish government source said 163 schools designated as voting centres had been occupied by families as images of families including children in sleeping bags have emerged.

Spanish police have also occupied the Catalan government's communications hub on the eve of a banned independence referendum which Madrid is attempting to thwart, regional authorities have said. Voting is due to begin at 9am.

Dastis said the radical CUP party that shores up Catalonia's separatist-minded government was "adopting Nazi-like attitudes by pointing at people that are against that referendum and encouraging others to harass them".

"What they are pushing is not democracy".

"We are witnessing the worst democratic regression since the death of Franco", Mr. Puigdemont said in an interview, referring to the dictator, General Francisco Franco, whose death in 1975 opened the way for Spanish democracy.

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée compared Spain's effort to clamp down on the vote to Quebec's October crisis and said the provincial government must ask the Spanish people to respect democracy and allow the Catalan people to vote. He's been tweeting support for the referendum in Catalonia, criticizing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and offering tips to on how to avoid digital censorship and controls.

The software integrated Google Maps and Global Positioning System functions and was meant to allow Catalan voters to find their nearest polling stations during the October 1 referendum, and to share information related to such locations. Officers have been told to refrain from using violence to remove parents and students.

As officers sealed off hundreds of schools, some parents made a decision to send their children home and prepared for pre-dawn confrontations. Calling them human shields is a huge lie, but I made my decision because there is fear.

"We don't know what can happen tomorrow, anything can happen", she said.

"In sport, it isn't a la carte and things must be clearly stated", Tebas said.

"I am aware they have a job to do, that they have their orders and have to carry them out".

"After the official proclamation of the results, which should take a few days. there is a period of 48 hours to proclaim independence but this does not exclude the possibility of us making yet another appeal on the night of the 1st [Sunday] for the need to sit down and talk to resolve this politically", Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told BBC News on Friday.

He said the agents disabled software created to connect more than 2,300 polling stations and to share results, as well as applications for voting online.

This followed an order by Catalonia's high court on Friday for police to prevent electronic voting taking place. Google has also deleted a smartphone application publicized by regional Catalan officials aimed at directing voters to their nearest polling stations.

Spain's Madrid-based government has kept the prosperous northeastern region in a chokehold for too long, he said.

September 11, 2012 - Spain's economic crisis escalates, and people take to the streets in Barcelona to protest for Catalan independence.

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