barcelona - With just one week to go before the referendum in Catalonia, both tension and confusion continue. The Spanish police have taken over the authority of the Catalan police- after all the public finances have fallen under control of Madrid.
Madrid has sent six thousand agents from the Guardia Civil to Catalonia to monitor premises and other public areas: everything to ensure that no vote will be taken. Because housing in Barcelona is scarce and expensive, three major foreign cruise ships have been hired where the Guardia Civil agents stay until 4 October: one in Taragona port, two in Barcelona's ports.
One of the cruise ships is decorated with Tweety images, leading to hilarity with the inhabitants of Barcelona- 'Torpedo Tweety is a hit on social media- but the mood is further relaxed. The seventeen thousand agents of Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police, should now fall under the command of Madrid.
Until now, the protests, like the University's occupation, have been peaceful this weekend, but Madrid does not want to risk the Catalan police in case of doubt not acting against their own people. But the Catalan Interior Minister Joaquin Forn says that the acquisition of the police can not be accepted.
Premier Rajoy has called on the Generalitat, the Catalan government, to publicly acknowledge that the referendum in Catalonia will not continue. 'It would be sensible, wise and democratic if the Catalan leaders would now stop these' tonterias '(dommigheden) and say: there will be no referendum. They also know that it will not happen, 'said Prime Minister Rajoy.
Madrid has already used many legal means to prevent the public consultation on October 1: 14 officials have been arrested, more than 10 million ballot papers were seized and, on the instructions of the Spanish Constitutional Court, a Generalitat website with voting information taken out of the air.
But despite all the obstacles that Madrid raises, the Catalan government does not want to know neighborhoods- and says continuing with the referendum. For example, President Puigdemont said that there is a new web site on the referendum in the sky.
It causes confusion with the Catalans. Sixty percent of the Catalan people see this referendum as 'neither legal nor valid,' according to a poll by El Pais, but most of them want to control the Catalan issue by vote.
Architect Xavi and his partner Maria Rosa Martinez, who lived in Colombia for six months, have even flown back for the referendum. One hour after she landed, Maria Rosa says on a terrace: 'We will probably never live here again, but I have two grown children living here. I want the best for them: and that is, Catalonia is separating itself from Spain. We have a different language and culture- and we pay far too much to the Spanish treasury. '
There is some confusion with her where she should actually vote: 'We will not send a voting card home this time', but after an hour wander through the neighborhood she knows: at the Center Civic, the neighborhood. 'I'll be there on sunday: cost at a cost. '