On Wednesday (20 September 2017), around 40,000 people – according to the local police – protested in Barcelona against the Spanish central government's latest efforts to prevent the non-legal Catalan independence referendum planned for 1 October.
In an escalation of the standoff between the Catalan and the central government authorities, the Spanish police (Guardia Civil) on Wednesday conducted 41 searches, including several at regional ministries, and arrested 14 referendum organisers. The Guardia Civil have also confiscated ballot papers for the referendum and letters establishing voting arrangements across the region. The rallies took place outside the Catalan government's economic department – one of the premises raided by the Guardia Civil – as well as outside the anti-system and pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (Candidatura d'Unitat Popular: CUP) party's headquarters.
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