October 1, 2017 / 8:28 AM / 3 years ago

Spain reluctantly forced to act in Catalan vote, official says

Spanish Civil Guard officers break through a door at a polling station for the banned independence referendum where Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was supposed to vote in Sant Julia de Ramis, Spain October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

BARCELONA (Reuters) - The Spanish government was reluctantly forced to send in national police to stop a referendum on Catalan independence that had descended into farce, the top Spanish official in the northeastern region said on Sunday.

The aim of the National Police and Civil Guard police who descended on polling stations in Catalonia was to seize election materials and they were not targeting people wanting to vote, Enric Millo, the Madrid government’s representative in Catalonia, told a news conference.

“We have been made to do something we didn’t want to do,” he said.

Referring to the Catalan government’s announcement on Sunday that people would be allowed to vote at any polling station they found open in the region, Millo said: “It’s all a sham, a farce. It is the first time in history that the rules of the game are changed 45 minutes before the start of voting.”

Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz; Editing by Adrian Croft

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