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Madrid blocks Catalan polling stations

Catalan separatists have halved their expectations for voter turnout amid strikes by Spain’s central authorities to dam a referendum on independence it has declared unlawful.

Given Madrid’s disruptive actions, 1,000,000 votes in favour of independence could be “an outstanding success”, Jordi Sanchez, president of the separatist Catalan National Assembly informed reporters in Barcelona on Saturday.

Despite Madrid’s efforts to cease the vote, Catalan regional authorities chief Carles Puigdemont has insisted it’s going to go forward on Sunday.

More than 5.three million individuals are eligible to vote, however opponents of independence have mentioned they won’t participate.

In an extra effort to forestall the referendum, the central authorities in Madrid on Saturday shut down the digital vote-counting system in Catalonia.

By blocking the counting system, Madrid had successfully “cancelled” the referendum which it had already declared unlawful, authorities spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo informed journalists.

Several officers from the Civil Guard state police, or Guardia Civil, had earlier on Saturday raided the Catalan expertise and communications centre the place the software program for the digital counting system is held.

This “further strike against the illegal proclamation” of the referendum “was carried out within the scope of the law”, the spokesman mentioned.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has confused a number of instances that the independence referendum would by no means happen.

Madrid has deployed all means at its disposal to forestall it: In latest days the central authorities have seized no less than 12 million poll papers, and hundreds of thousands of posters and leaflets; many web sites have additionally been blocked.

More than 4000 members of the Guardia Civil and the nationwide police power have been despatched to Catalonia, whereas safety forces have sealed off a whole bunch of polling stations.

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