- Title: SPAIN-CATALONIA-VOTE Pro-independence Catalans demonstrate support for referendum
- Date: 5th November 2014
- Summary: BARCELONA, SPAIN (NOVEMBER 5, 2014) (REUTERS) STAND IN DOWNTOWN DISTRIBUTE MATERIAL PROMOTING THE INDEPENDENCE VOTE PRO-INDEPENDENCE "ESTELADA" FLAG BLOWING IN WIND CATALAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (ANC) VOLUNTEERS CAMPAIGNING FOR INDEPENDENCE VOTE CLOSE UP OF PRO-INDEPENDENCE BROCHURE AT STAND CLOSE UP OF BALLOT ANC VOLUNTEER TALKING TO PEOPLE PEOPLE LISTENING TO VOLUNTEER (SOUNDBITE)(English) VOLUNTEER WORKING WITH THE NATIONAL CATALAN ASSEMBLY (ANC), PERE GABARRA, SAYING: "We are not afraid of anything. Nothing can stop us from doing what we are doing. Nothing. It is too many people. It is not only me and a few more crazy people. It is millions. You have seen the demonstrations on September 11. Plus, many people who were not at the demonstrations will also go vote, so no problem." VOLUNTEER GIVING BALLOT TO WOMAN CLOSE UP OF BALLOT (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) BARCELONA RESIDENT BELEN TEIAETXE, SAYING: "It is not going to change anything. If they want to vote and get a result in which three are for independence and two others are against, let them do it, but the only way of changing it is by changing the constitution, so it is not going to change anything. It is a big waste of time." CLOSE UP OF T-SHIRT READING "THE TIME IS NOW" PRO-INDEPENDENCE STAND
- Embargoed: 20th November 2014 12:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA9Q2O982PGXXVYHMYLTW4RT4XM
- Story Text: Supporters of a vote on independence in Catalonia banged pots and pans on Tuesday (November 4) night in protest against a decision by a Spanish court to suspend a vote that was scheduled to be held on Sunday (November 9). The move has increased frustration among Catalans, many of whom favour a referendum.
Regional public television TV3 showed people on their balconies, many of them with pro-independence flags, banging pots and pans. The impromptu protest was called for on social networks.
Catalan President Artur Mas responded to the court's decision on Wednesday (November 5) calling on Catalans to go ahead with the vote despite the ban.
"We are determined to participate and to vote. We have the strong will to do so and, as everybody knows, if there is the will, there is the way," he said.
Spain's government had asked the court to block the "consultation of citizens" called by Catalonia's regional government.
A formal referendum, which would carry more legal weight, was originally scheduled for Sunday (November 9), but the court suspended it at the end of September to consider its legality, a process that could take months.
"We are defending our right to expression. We are defending our right of participation. We are defending our ideological freedom. Those are fundamental rights recognised by the Spanish Constitution itself," Mas said.
On Wednesday, members of the National Catalan Assembly (ANC) continued distributing materials in the centre of Barcelona to encourage Catalans to vote.
"We are not afraid of anything. Nothing can stop us from doing what we are doing. Nothing. It is too many people. It is not only me and a few more crazy people. It is millions. You have seen the demonstrations on September 11. Plus, many people who were not at the demonstrations will also go vote, so no problem," said Pere Gabarra, a volunteer working with the ANC.
Barcelona resident Belen Teiaietxe said she felt the vote would not achieve anything.
"It is not going to change anything. If they want to vote and get a result in which three are for independence and two others are against, let them do it, but the only way of changing it is by changing the constitution, so it is not going to change anything. It is a big waste of time".
Independence supporters in Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people with their own language, received a boost from the Scottish referendum held in September.
Unlike the British government, Spain's central government has not authorised a vote. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said such a referendum would be against the country's 1978 constitution and says the region already has substantial powers, including its own parliament, police force and education system.
The Catalan government said 929,040 people had visited its website about the vote. The Barcelona-based government said it would sue the Spanish government over attacking citizens' right to freedom of expression.
It was not clear whether the Spanish government will order arrests or other legal action against Catalans who organise unofficial ballots on Sunday.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out on Sunday to hold demonstrations in favour of independence.
Mas has said local elections due to take place in November 2016 could be brought forward and turned into a proxy referendum on the region breaking away from Spain.
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