The Latest: Students protesting against Catalonia crackdown

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The Latest: Students protesting against Catalonia crackdown
The Latest: Students protesting against Catalonia crackdown

MADRID (AP) – The Latest on independence efforts in Spain’s Catalonia region (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

Around two thousand students have gathered around and inside one of Barcelona’s main universities calling for an end to the crackdown of a referendum over Catalonia’s secession Spain.

The students are carrying pro-independence flags and banners supporting the Oct. 1 vote. They are also shouting slogans in support of a dozen officials that are under investigation in relation to the referendum.

Hundreds of students have entered the main building of Barcelona University and have occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university managers.

Student union representatives are calling for protesters to remain over the weekend to show support for the vote.

Spain’s Constitutional Court has suspended the vote while judges assess its legality.

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11:25 a.m.

Spain’s Interior Ministry says it’s deploying police reinforcements to its northeastern region of Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain should take place.

A ministry statement says the agents will provide backing for the Catalan regional police who are also under orders to prevent the Oct. 1 referendum from taking place.

The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed. It didn’t say how many extra police would be sent. Three ferries docked at Barcelona’s port will provide accommodation for the extra officers.

The deployment comes amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned referendum. Officers arrested a dozen regional government officials and seized around 10 million ballot papers this week.

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11 a.m.

Hundreds of pro-independence supporters in Catalonia are protesting outside a courthouse to demand the release of regional government officials arrested in a crackdown by Spanish authorities over a planned secession referendum.

The protest Friday in the northeastern Catalan town of Hospitalet de Llobregat is an extension of another started Thursday outside the Catalan judiciary headquarters in nearby Barcelona that attracted thousands. A pro-independence group says that about 2,500 supporters were attending the protest in Hospitalet.

Many of the demonstrators in Barcelona had slept overnight near the judiciary building in tents or hammocks strung up between lampposts.

The Catalan National Assembly civic group has called for the protests to continue until the near dozen officials detained Wednesday are released.

Spain’s central government says the planned Oct. 1 referendum is illegal.

People sleep on the ground covered with the estelada, or independence flags, during a protest in Barcelona, Spain Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A woman rests inside a tent during a protest in Barcelona, Spain Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
One of the ferry vessels, where authorities are accommodating security officers dispatched to Catalonia ten days ahead of a contested vote on independence, seen docked at the Barcelona port, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Spanish security forces’ unions say authorities have hired three ferry vessels to accommodate some of the additional civil guard and national police officers to provide security during a contested vote on independence. (AP Photo)
People sleep on the ground during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
People sleep on hammocks during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A man wearing an estelada, or independence flag, stands in front of the Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
People sleep on the ground covered with estelada or independence flags, during a protest in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A woman rests inside a tent during a protest in Barcelona, Spain Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Hundreds of demonstrators spent the night at the gates of Catalonia’s judiciary body in Barcelona to demand the release of a dozen officials arrested in connection with a vote on independence that Spanish central authorities are challenging as illegal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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