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Catalunya police raid printing firms over referendum documents
POLICE in Catalunya are keeping close watch on – and even raiding – companies given the job of printing out referendum material such as voting slips, electoral lists and polling cards.
In the last few days, the Guardia Civil has raided the printing firms El Vallenc, and Indugraf in the Tarragona-province town of Constantí – the latter of which used to print a now-defunct English-language weekly newspaper sold in the provinces of Valencia, Alicante and Murcia to British and Irish expatriate readers.
Indugraf has allegedly been commissioned to print out a numerical list of voters in catalán and Spanish, running into 24 pages.
Police entered the premises on the industrial estate in Constantí one evening and searched employees' cars to check they were not carrying referendum-related material.
They had acquired a search warrant from the court to raid the offices.
Indugraf says it is not aware of who contracted them to print the paperwork, nor who would be paying the bill.
The head office of the weekly newspaper El Vallenc, in the town of Valls (Tarragona province) was raided two days later, and again today (Saturday).
The prosecution for the province of Tarragona has opened a case against the regional government for 'disobedience, power-dealing and misuse of public funds', ordering searches on all printers suspected of having been appointed to produce referendum material.
The regional government denies having given such commissions to any companies, although it has no answer for the question as to who else could have done so.
Catalunya's president Carles Puigdemont says he is aware that he is 'risking everything', both personally and politically – since he could be charged with sedition and even embezzlement and face huge fines, being struck off and even a prison sentence as well as a permanent, lifelong end to his career – but insists that despite this, he is 'prepared to see it through to the bitter end'.
Meanwhile, major towns and cities in Catalunya have opted not to take any action in support of the referendum.
Mayoress of Barcelona, who represents the Podemos branch En Comú Podem, says that although she agrees Catalunya 'needs a referendum', it 'should not be one which ignores the wishes of half the population of the region', in response to Puigdemont's decision that a majority of anything over 50% will be considered sufficient for a unilateral declaration of independence.
Sra Colau has said that despite her own convictions that the region should at least be allowed to express its view, she will not get involved in organising the polls.
“It's not worth it,” she says. “I'm not prepared to do anything that could get politicians and public-sector employees in Barcelona into trouble.”
Already, protests have been staged outside the printing department of El Vallenc, with hundreds of demonstrators chanting, “We will vote!”
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