The Constitutional Court of Spain has suspended another referendum law ratified in the regional parliament of Catalonia as Madrid struggles to block a vote of independence in the region planned for earlier next month.
September 11 marks the 'Diada, ' Catalonia's national day, which commemorates the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714 and is traditionally used by pro-independence activists to call for secession for the northeastern region with a distinct language.
Prosecutors in Catalonia also on Tuesday ordered police to seize ballot boxes, election fliers or other items that could be used in the banned referendum, news agency AFP reported. They were then ordered to take action against authorities, civil servants or individuals "to avoid offences being committed", prosecutors said in a statement after the meeting.
"Police officers. will directly adopt the measures necessary to seize resources destined at preparing or holding an illegal referendum", the prosecutors said.
Catalan leaders say they will go ahead with the October 1 ballot anyway. The decision comes after the same court rejected the referendum call itself and the law that made it possible.
Approximately half a million people took to the streets of Barcelona on Monday to show support for the cause of secession, with buses coming from across the region.
The court, which serves as the highest Spanish authority on constitutional issues, said on Tuesday that the law outlining a legal framework for the October 1 referendum of independence in Catalonia would be suspended until judges decide its compliance with the Spanish constitution.
On the one hand, by law they have to follow prosecutors' orders but they are also directly dependent on the regional government against which they have been told to act.