Spanish police raid Catalan government buildings

A pro independence man holds up a fake ballot box outside the district attorney's office of Catalonia in Barcelona Spain Tuesday Sept. 19 2017. Dozens of pro independence supporters gather outside the district attorney's office of Catalonia to give

Pro-independence supporters have gathered outside Barcelona's top court for a second consecutive day, protesting against the Spanish government's attempts to block a referendum on Catalonia's split from Spain.

The demonstrators waved Catalonian flags and held up ballot boxes as they denounced the "heavy-handed" treatment of the referendum by Spanish authorities, following Wednesday's wave of arrests of higher-ups in regional departments, Efe news reported.

Through a communiqué, the club declared that "true to its historical commitment to the country's defense, democracy, freedom of expressuion abd the right to decide, it condemns any ation that may prevent the exercise of these rights".

"Primavera Sound can not and does not want to keep quiet about the events that have taken place over the past few days in Catalonia and especially what has taken place today in Barcelona, the city which hosts the festival", reads a statement from Primavera Sound, issued this afternoon.

"FC Barcelona, in holding the utmost respect for its diverse body of members, will continue to support the will of the majority of Catalan people, and will do so in a civic, peaceful and exemplary way".

In November 2014, a non-binding vote on independence for Catalonia showed 80 percent of people were in favor.

After an emergency cabinet meeting, Puigdemont accused Madrid of imposing a state of emergency and a "de facto" suspension of the region's autonomy.

Given the escalated situation, Ramón Espinar Podemos, a social activist and politician with the Podemos political party, said from the protest in Madrid that "we're no longer discussing whether Catalonia has independence".

If the referendum does go ahead on 1 October, it remains unlikely that Spain's largest economic region would back a breakaway.

Under Article 155 of Spain's constitution, Madrid has the power to suspend the regional government's authority to rule.

Officers are also searching a Catalan government data center, a press officer for the Barcelona-based executive said in a text message.

She added: "It is of course entirely legitimate for Spain to oppose independence for Catalonia, but what I think is of concern anywhere is for a state to deny the right of a people to democratically express their will".

Spanish law enforcement has been closing in on separatist activists over the past week, after the Catalan Parliament legislated earlier this month for the referendum and approved the foundations for a Catalan republic in defiance of Spain's Constitutional Court.

Now they have taken a step further in arresting Catalan officials.

According to Catalan government sources, Catalonia's junior economy minister and the secretary general of the Catalan vice-presidency, Josep Maria Jove, have been taken into custody by Spanish police.

The prosperous Catalonia region, whose capital is Barcelona, generates a fifth of Spain's economy.

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