Spain threatens to nab Catalan separatist mayors

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Jose Manuel Maza, Spain's top prosecutor, ordered provincial prosecutors Wednesday to investigate 712 mayors who have already offered municipal facilities for the October 1 vote.

Spain's top prosecutor is investigating more than 700 Catalan mayors for co-operating with a planned referendum on the region's independence after the nation's constitutional court ordered the vote put on hold, the prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Those against independence complained that a day meant for all Catalans had been hijacked by the separatists - and even more so this year ahead of the referendum.

The mayors of the cities in the provinces of Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona have been summoned "to clarify the position on the issue of their potential participation in the preparations and holding the referendum, which has been recognized as illegal", the source said.

Catalonia's pro-separatist government has asked the northeastern region's 947 mayors to provide facilities for polling stations for the independence referendum.

The ruling comes a day after prosecutors ordered police in Catalonia to seize ballot boxes, election flyers and any other item that could be used in the referendum.

With Spain's central government promising to block the referendum, the pro-independence camp was keen to show that it can rally its troops - especially after participation in the "Diada" declined previous year.

In 2015, the court declared regional independence referendums to be unconstitutional.

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Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy's government were granted a suspension by the Constitutional Court while judges decide on the legality of the poll.

Spain argues that an independent Catalonia would be ejected from the European Union and left out from using the euro currency.

Still, the pro-independence government in Catalonia says the vote will go ahead.

Demonstrators will take the shape of a giant "X" by gathering on the Paseo de Gracia and Aragon avenues in central Barcelona to represent the mark Catalans will make on their ballots during the referendum.

If mayors and their municipalities can not help organize balloting, the vote is unlikely to proceed.

Following a legal challenge from his government, Spain's Constitutional Court suspended a referendum law that was fast-tracked through Catalonia's regional parliament on Wednesday.

Approximately half a million people took to the streets of Barcelona on Monday to show support for the cause of secession, with buses coming from across the region.

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