Support for an October 1 secession referendum by municipal officials in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona have the vote looking increasingly inevitable. Despite this, the Spanish government is looking to get increasingly aggressive in these final weeks to try to stop the vote.
Officials in Catalonia report a much higher than usual presence of Spanish national police across the region, suggesting they’re looking for ballots, ballot boxes, or anything else that can be seized to undermine the vote. Last week, police raided a local newspaper there, looking for signs of preparation for the vote.
This is an unquestioned attempt by the national government to undermine the campaign, which they’ve been unsuccessful at forbidding outright. Prosecutors have summoned over 700 mayors, who are being investigated for giving support for the vote. They face criminal charges of abuse of office for not obeying the ban.
Anti-secession sentiment is being supported at the EU level as well, with European Union officials warning that even if Catalonia did successfully secede, it wouldn’t mean they’d become members of the European Union. This threat to withhold EU membership was sufficient to sway the most recent Scottish referendum, but it’s unclear if it will work this time.