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Catalans occupy schools ahead of independence vote

Catalans occupy schools ahead of independence vote”

"We have proposed that citizens organise activities, that they put in place a lot of activities to give life to these spaces which on Sunday should host the referendum".

When asked by Anadolu Agency: "On a scale of one to 10, how optimistic are you that a vote will happen, and if that vote happens, and "yes" wins, that Catalonia will declare independence?"

Madrid argues the vote is illegal as the courts have ruled it unconstitutional, and has banned it. It has seized ballot papers and drafted thousands of extra police, or Guardia Civil, in a bid to prevent it.

The Catalan newspaper "LaVanguardia" reported today, citing Radio RAD1's claims that the Spanish police had entered the telecommunications and technology center of the Catalan government, but the police did not confirm the raids, said Reuters.

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.

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Thus, yoga sessions, film screenings and social gatherings are organized at some of the 2,315 polling stations, where voters are also present, in order to prevent the police from closing the polls, AP reports. All polling places have been ordered closed by 6am on Sunday, with the vote scheduled to take place by 9am. "Children play, and parents organize events for the weekend", - said one of the parents, which is the election Commission.

The highest-ranking Spanish official in Catalonia Enric Millo said said anyone remaining in schools after 6am will be removed in line with a judge's orders.

But Catalans seem more determined than ever to proceed with the vote, according to Gerry Hadden, a reporter in Barcelona. "Then, if "yes" or "no", it's up to each person".

However, he admitted there could be "sham voting" in the region, located in Spain's northeast, where millions could turn out, according to some projections. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News.

In Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Santander, Alicante and Valencia, thousands protested for Spanish unity.

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Despite pressure from the national authorities and La Liga officials, a lot of Catalan sportsmen, including Pep Guardiola, are in favour of the vote for independence.

The Catalan government appeared to soften its language somewhat in a news conference Saturday, with officials talking of "peaceful resistance" and a peaceful demonstration of people's democratic rights. "But what Catalan authorities have promised, an effective referendum with legal basis and binding, is something that won't happen".

"There isn't a consensus in order to change the Spanish constitution, so this is why the Catalan government acts unilaterally".

Meanwhile the Spanish Agency for Data Protection advised that the 7,235 people who have been called to supervise the election face fines of between 40,000 euros (47,270 US dollars) and 300,000 euros (354,500 dollars) because according to the agency, as the referendum is not official, they "cannot deal with details of the census as members of an electoral table".

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