Spain's chief prosecutor says arrest of Catalan leader 'possible'

The website of the foundation of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco "remains operational" but not the referendum websites, said Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull.

With five days to go until the October 1 vote, the clash between Catalonia's pro-separatist government and Madrid was increasingly being played out in the arena of logistics and global opinion.

Meanwhile, Catalan Regional Police (Mossos d'Esquadra) visited schools in the Catalan region on Tuesday which they believe will be used as polling stations on Sunday with the aim of identifying and questioning the people for responsible for the centers.

The Spanish interior ministry said the order to note the details of officials was given to police by the top state prosecutor in Catalonia.

Catalonia's President has accused the government of massive and profoundly undemocratic overreaction toward the region's independence.

"They need to stop lying, come back to reason and accept that we will all find a place for Catalonia within Spain", he added before heading to Washington.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said the referendum is against the law and the constitutional court has ordered it be halted while its legality is determined.

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In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutor's office said they would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.

Senior Madrid government officials said on Monday that authorities had done enough to prevent a meaningful referendum in the region as Catalonia lacked an election commission, ballots boxes, ballot papers, a transparent census and election material. Hundreds of police reinforcements have been brought into Barcelona and other cities.

Police also went to the office of Oliana Mayor Miguel Sala, one of 700 mayors under investigation for saying they would cooperate with the referendum.

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.

He also said the risk of violence was of concern to many people.

They will be released pending further questioning by a judge, he said.

"If Catalonia votes for independence, even if the vote is deemed illegal, then it could put pressure on Madrid to allow the people of the region to have a legal vote, which could increase the chance of a break up of Spain", says Brooks.

  • Megan Austin