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Spain's government moves to halt independence vote for Catalonia, sparking protests

Spain's government moves to halt independence vote for Catalonia, sparking protests

After years of largely ignoring Catalan separatism, Spain’s central government moved decisively Wednesday to halt preparations for an independence referendum in its Catalonia region, where memories of repression under the Franco dictatorship linger.

The Spanish Civil Guard, a national paramilitary force, raided more than 20 regional government offices and institutions in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, detaining at least 14 separatist officials for their roles in organizing an Oct. 1 secession vote that Spain considers unconstitutional. Those held include aides to Catalonia’s vice president.

Civil Guards also raided a warehouse in a rural industrial park north of Barcelona,...

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