Wednesday saw Civil Guardss raid several offices pertaining to the Catalan regional authority, including those of the Catalan economy department, while it has also been confirmed that the Spanish central government will take over the payment of the wages of Catalan civil servants from the regional authority.
Spanish police have also raided print shops and newspaper offices in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes and leaflets, while Catalonia's top court has warned newspapers not to publish campaign notices for the referendum. It gave no details on the number of people involved.
On June 9, the president of the autonomous region, Carles Puigdemont, said that Catalonia would hold a unilateral referendum on independence on October 1, 2017, prompting criticism and objections from Madrid. Yet the government of Mariano Rajoy, in trying to head off a Catalan breakaway, is pursuing strong-arm tactics that are likely to backfire when the province votes in a referendum in ten days' time.
The Interior Ministry in Madrid would not confirm any arrests, citing an "ongoing operation".
The actions of the Spanish police are part of Madrid's larger strategy to undermine Catalonia's independence vote, which the Spanish Constitutional Court has declared illegal.
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The raids came after the local government vowed to continue with an October 1 referendum on Catalonia's independence, a vote Madrid says is illegal and unconstitutional.
Finance minister Cristobal Montoro signed an order late on Tuesday that limits new credit and requires central authorities' supervision for every payment of non-essential services in Catalonia, the ministry said.
In the early hours of the morning, armed officers from the Guardia Civil arrived at ministries, including the offices of economic affairs, foreign relations and the social affairs, said the spokesman.
Catalonia, which represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1-trillion-euro economy, has some 900 mayors. However, Wednesday's communique was a show of support, if not for the independence movement, then at least for the right to vote.
As multiple raids began across printing firms, news organizations and warehouses, hundreds of citizens gathered around the government buildings to protest the operation.
The province of Catalonia's headlong rush towards independence challenges the very roots of Spain's existence as a unitary state.