Catalans occupy polling stations ahead of referendum

Air strikes kill 28 civilians in Syria safe zone monitor

Air strikes kill 28 civilians in Syria safe zone monitor

The central government in Madrid said on Saturday that 1,300 of 2,315 designated voting stations have been sealed off by police, who have been mobilised in the thousands in the region.

Vowing that he and his supporters would not "give up" their rights and would vote on Sunday, he called on Catalans to maintain a "peaceful attitude".

"If the yes wins, if the no wins - in any scenario there must be mediation, because things aren't working", he said in an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Jorge Toledo, Spain's deputy minister for the European Union, said at an European Union conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on Friday that talks with Catalonia could start once the region is complying with the law.

"I think it's about democracy and liberty", Ramon Hernández, 80, said.

Dozens of similar protests calling for the nation's unity popped up in other Spanish cities in the first large grassroots response to the Catalan independence bid.

Further afield, Spaniards the country over are anxious.

The Spanish government says there will be no Catalonia independence vote Sunday, even as the regional government continues preparations for the referendum. "If it gets complicated we'll stay inside peacefully and they won't move us".

"Both sides have been very stubborn, the Spanish and the Catalan, and the only victims are going to be us", Mr. Satue said.

-2010: Spain's Madrid-based Constitutional Court strikes down key parts of the 2006 charter, inadvertently breathing new life into the secession movement.

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She will not find out if she faces the death penalty until authorities take her from a Virginia jail to Florida for prosecution. Marlene answered the door, while her 21-year-old son Joseph Aherns and his friends were also present in the house.

Police forces acting on judges' orders have seized ballots and arrested regional officials in the crackdown.

But those for the vote have mobilised.

Despite the government shutdown of these polling stations, the Catalan National Assembly has urged voters to still show up if they are blocked by authorities.

Other Catalans camped out in polling stations in order to defy court orders to close them.

Barcelona's Joan Brossa high school, for instance, advertised a series of activities including film screenings, football matches and Zumba dance fitness classes. As a result, those inside were allowed to leave but no one could enter.

They have been ordered to clear schools occupied by activists - including parents and their children who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on Friday - aiming to ensure the buildings can be used for voting.

According to reports, 163 schools which were earmarked as voting centres, were occupied by families.

On Saturday, Spanish police also raided the Catalan government's telecommunications and information technology center, according to La Vanguardia citing RAC1 radio station.

Contrary to the pro-separatist Catalan government, the Spanish government continues to insist that there will be no independence referendum on Sunday.

The steps to intimidate people who back a vote not only may backfire, they argue, but also threaten to transform the conflict into a broad campaign of civil disobedience that could spiral out of control.

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