In an effort to preempt Spanish government efforts to block polling places for the Sunday referendum in Catalonia, voters are already out on force on Friday, occupying the voting stations, and forming lines around them.
The idea seems to be that police won’t be able to prevent the vote if people are already inside the moment voting is to begin. Many Catalan voters inside the stations intend to remain at the sites until the vote, camping out at those locations.
This is likely to provoke Spanish reactions ahead of the Sunday vote, with police now said to have been ordered to “clear” the voting stations and make sure no votes can be cast. It’s not clear yet if that’s going to mean physical raids of the sites, but it also doesn’t appear to have been ruled out.
Spanish officials continue to say there will be no referendum at all, while Catalonia’s regional officials predict the vote will be relatively orderly, irrespective of the Spanish government’s ongoing crackdowns.