Security officials meet in Barcelona ahead of Sunday’s controversial referendum on independence.
They are determined the vote will go ahead as planned, despite concerted opposition from the Spanish government, which has declared it unconstitutional and ordered regional police to take control of voting booths.
“What is being attempted next Sunday has been declared illegal by the Constitutional Court and the courts are calling for it not to take place. This is the line in the sand and we are going to act on it. We are absolutely determined to fulfill this objective,” said José Antonio Nieto, Spanish Secretary of State for Security.
The Catalan regional government plans to declare independence within 48 hours of a yes vote.
“The commitment of the Catalan government is very clear, we want people be able to vote. But we must also accept that we have a police force which must respect what the judges have said. We cannot ignore the fact that this order is in place and we must carry out our obligations without creating bigger problems than the ones that we are supposed to avoid,” said Joaquim Forn, Catalan region Interior Minister.
Analysts say a “yes” vote is likely, given that most of the 40 percent of Catalans who polls show support independence are expected to cast ballots while most of those against it are not.
But the unrelenting opposition from Madrid means the result will go largely unrecognised, potentially setting up a new phase of the dispute.