The October 1 referendum on Catalan independence is going ahead. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, steadfast on the self-determination vote on Wednesday despite the Spanish police arresting 13 people –including high-ranking officials of his executive- and raiding 22 government buildings in a big operation to stop the referendum. ‘On October 1 we are called to defend democracy from a repressive and intimidating regime,’ he said in a televised speech following the events in Barcelona.

‘We condemn and reject the totalitarian and anti-democratic attitude of the Spanish State,’ Puigdemont said. The Catalan president said that the actions of the Spanish government amount to the ‘suspension’ of the Catalan self-government.

‘The Spanish government has de facto suspended the government of Catalonia and has declared, de facto, a state of exception,’ he regretted. ‘We denounce the illegitimate suspension and intervention of the Catalan government coming from a Spanish executive that does not respect the fundamental principles of democracy,’ he added.

‘They’ve crossed the red line,’ said Puigdemont, describing how police agents have even raided government buildings, personal houses of government officials or even newsrooms. ‘We give all our support to all the people arrested,’ he said.

Puigdemont called Catalans to go to the polls on October 1 to give a ‘massive and civic response’ to the Spanish executive actions. ‘We will defend democracy with the only weapons we have: a peaceful attitude,’ he insisted. ‘We won’t give up’ on the referendum, he added, saying that his government and the Catalan Parliament have a legitimate majority in favor of such a self-determination vote.

‘On October 1 we will go out, with ballots, and we will use them, in a democratic exercise that should contrast with the attitude of those that only speak the authoritative language that, for so long, influenced the government of Spain.’

‘What is happening in Catalonia is not happening anywhere else in the EU. To all democrats that todayfeel outraged, here in Catalonia or abroad, we confirm our commitment with democracy, we won’t accept a return to the past and we won’t accept not to be able to decide about our future in freedom and democracy,’ Puigdemont said.

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