Spanish state prosecutors on Friday lodged a formal accusation of sedition against individuals thought to be responsible for the disturbances of Wednesday night in Barcelona, when Civil Guard patrol cars were vandalized and officers had to be escorted out of the Economic Affairs Department building by the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
The protests came after the Civil Guard on Wednesday staged a large operation against organisers of a planned independence referendum in Catalonia that resulted in dozens of searches and 14 arrests, including top Catalan government officials. Around nine million ballot papers were confiscated, seriously compromising the logistics of the vote.
Supporters of the referendum say that the state is being heavy handed in its approach. They say that the measures taken which include shipping in thousands of officers to take control, are reminders of the period when Franco was the dictator.
The government's position is simple, the referendum is illegal and should not go ahead. They will do all that is required to prevent it from taking place. It has put the mayors of many towns in a difficult position - if they allow public premises to be used as polling stations they are breaking the law. On the other hand, ff they ban polling in their towns, then they risk losing the votes of those who are in favour of secession.