Catalan Independence Supporters Gather in Barcelona in Support of Mayors

Catalan independence supporters

Catalan independence supporters

Officials in Catalonia and the northeastern region's capital, Barcelona, asked in a letter released on Friday for fresh dialogue on holding the vote with the government's permission.

The officials vow that not one Euro will be spent on the "illegal" referendum, though with most mayors in the region backing the vote, Spain's go-to move has been to threaten to arrest hundreds of mayors, hardly a realistic way to stop a vote.

"The prime minister can't make something illegal into something legal", said Inigo Mendez de Vigo, the spokesman for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Cabinet as well as being Spain's culture minister.

The mayors on Saturday met with Catalonia's regional head Carles Puigdemont in a show of defiance, following Spanish prosecutors warning earlier this week that officials engaging in any preparations for the vote could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds.

The extraordinary measures were justified, Montoro said, for the sake of budgetary stability in Catalonia and to defend Spain's legal order.

Montoro's ministry ordered regional authorities back in July to send weekly spending reports instead of monthly reports.

The central government says that a constitutional reform through a strong majority in the national parliament is the only avenue for a legal referendum.

Spanish officials have rejected the unilateral vote planned for October 1.

Separatist politicians launched the Yes campaign on Thursday as they press ahead with the vote despite a ban by the country's courts and a criminal investigation into three out of four Catalan mayors actively supporting it.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who has reached an agreement with the Catalan regional government to allow voting in the city, criticised Madrid's response to the crisis in a short speech in the city hall.

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