September 20, 2017 / 11:05 AM / a year ago

REPEAT-Catalan head says central government has taken over regional government

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MADRID, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Spanish government has intervened in the Catalan government, head of the region Carles Puigdemont said on Wednesday after police raids of local government offices and the arrest of at least one high-ranking Catalan official.

“We condemn and reject the undemocratic and totalitarian attitude of the Spanish state ... it has crossed the red line separating them from a repressive regime,” Puigdemont said in a hastily-called press conference in the city of Barcelona.

The raids came after the local government vowed to continue with an Oct. 1 referendum on Catalonia’s independence, a vote Madrid says is illegal and unconstitutional.

Puigdemont reiterated his call for Catalans to “defend democracy” and to vote en masse in the referendum.

Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Writing by Paul Day

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