Catalonia's ministers vow to go ahead with independence referendum

Catalonia's ministers vow to go ahead with independence referendum
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency Raul Romeva speaks with the media at the delegation offices in Brussels today.

Catalonia's interior minister vowed that a disputed referendum on independence from Spain will take place peacefully.

Joaquin Forn said officials are determined to proceed with Sunday's vote, even though Spain's government says it is illegal and cannot happen.

Mr Forn says the central government is deploying 10,000 police officers in Catalonia for the ballot.

He told a news conference in Barcelona that he met with regional security officials in an effort to defuse tension surrounding the vote.

He insisted, however, that the Catalan police force take their orders from local authorities.

The force's loyalty has been torn between the central and regional governments.

He said Catalan authorities have no bones of contention with the National Police and Civil Guard, which have enacted some controversial central government measures to prevent the vote.

The region's Catalonia's foreign affairs chief has appealed for support from the European Union over Spain's measures to prevent the poll.

Raul Romeva, speaking to journalists in Brussels, said EU institutions need to "understand that this is a big issue".

Mr Romeva spoke a day after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont accused the EU of "turning its back" on Catalonia.

Mr Romeva accused the Spanish government of a "brutal crackdown" on Catalan officials to try to prevent Sunday's referendum, which Spain considers to be illegal.

He said it has "generated an unprecedented level of shock".

He said he does not expect violence, because "it's not in the Catalan DNA to use violence to solve political problems".

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