The technology infrastructure for Catalonia’s independence referendum has been dismantled, making the disputed vote “absolutely impossible”, a Spanish government spokesman has said.
Enric Millo, the highest-ranking Spanish central government official in the region, said Civil Guard agents acting on a judge’s order searched the headquarters of CTTI, the Catalan regional centre in charge of technology and communications on Saturday.
He said the agents disabled software designed to connect more than 2,300 polling stations and to share results, as well as applications for voting online.
He ruled out any possibility of “an effective referendum, with legal guarantees and binding in the way that the Catalan regional government has promised”.
Earlier, Spain’s foreign minister said the Catalan regional government’s plan to hold an independence referendum was a mockery of democracy.
Alfonso Dastis told the Associated Press: “What they are pushing is not democracy. It is a mockery of democracy, a travesty of democracy.”
He accused the Catalan government of trying to promote an exclusionary system which runs counter to the goals and ideals the European Union is trying to advance.
He said voter referendums cannot be equated with democracy and asserted that they are actually the “instrument of choice of dictators”.
The Spanish government maintains that the referendum is unconstitutional and the country’s Constitutional Court suspended the vote so it could consider the matter. Catalan officials said they planned to hold the referendum anyway.
Parents supporting the ballot across the north-eastern region arranged to occupy schools throughout the weekend so they could be used as polling stations on Sunday.
Yoga sessions, film screenings and picnics were organised at some of the 2,315 voting facilities which referendum supporters were trying to stop police shutting down.
Catalan police told them they must vacate the premises so officers could carry out orders to empty the buildings by early on Sunday. Officers were told to refrain from using violence to remove parents and students.