The 2015 Catalan elections were widely viewed as a proxy referendum on independence from Spain and the brutal austerity imposed by Madrid, whose courts declared independence referendums to be illegal, augmenting its legal attacks against the Catalan independence movement with withering cyber-attacks, a brutal move that drove support for Spain's left-wing/anti-austerity parties.
The Catalan government has pressed forward with its plan for a referendum, and Madrid has struck back with overwhelming force, storming Catalonian government offices and seizing evidence of the planned October 1 referendum, arresting Catalan government officials, and hauling in pro-referendum mayors for questioning. (Federal cops also raided the body that manages the .cat top-level domain).
The left-wing opposition parties in national government have formed a united front against the anti-independence crackdown, defeating a motion in support of the raids in parliament.
In the early hours of the morning armed officers arrived at various Catalan ministries, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department, Spanish media reports.
At least twelve Catalan officials are said to have been arrested, including the chief aide to Catalonia's deputy prime minister, Josep Maria Jové. The arrests come as the mayors of Catalan towns who back the referendum were yesterday questioned by state prosecutors.
Pro-independence crowds have formed outside the regional ministries in support of the provincial government and in protest against the raids and searches.
Speaking at lunchtime Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalonian government, said the Spanish government had "de facto suspended" home rule in the province.
Spanish police storm Catalan government buildings to stop independence referendum [Jon Stone/The Independent]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Holding Hands for Catalan Independence NYC #CatalanWay #ViaCatalana #ViaCatalanaMon, Liz Castro, CC-BY-SA)