SPANISH police arrested at least 12 people yesterday in raids on Catalan regional government offices in a crackdown on an independence referendum which courts have ruled unconstitutional.
The Guardia Civil also confiscated 10 million ballot papers and more than 1.3 million posters, flyers and pamphlets promoting the unofficial referendum called by the autonomous community’s independence-minded parliament.
It was the first time Spanish authorities have detained Catalan officials since the campaign to hold a vote on Catalonia’s independence began to gather momentum in 2011.
Some demonstrators sat down in the street to block police cars, while others scuffled with officers. Protests also occurred in other Catalan towns. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.
Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont blasted the police operation as “unlawful,” accusing Madrid of adopting a “totalitarian attitude.”