Nine hours to go before voting starts here in Catalonia - though they're already voting at the Catalan govt office in Australia! So, what's new since this morning or what else can I say?
1. As I said earlier Spanish courts have "suspended" the vote, but everyone was hoping they'd realise it is impossible to physically stop it - so it would go ahead under a sort of grey vagueness if the Catalan government took on a low profile. Well, at midday the Spanish public prosecutor formally ordered the Catalan justice system to find out just who's going to be opening the "polling stations" tomorrow, and who'd be legally responsible for this "illegal" act. The actual people opening the doors will be the head teachers of the school buildings being used, so it's obvious that this is just one more attempt to scare people and put them off voting - and maybe to start specific legal actions against the Catalan government, who has tonight taken the pressure off the head teachers and volunteers via a press release where they insist that it's the government, and only the government, who is legally responsible for tomorrow's act.
2. Somebody has hacked into the Catalan government website and the website of the huge pro-independence citizens' group, Assemblea Nacional Catalana, and brought them down. The Assemblea also say many of their workers' mobile phones have been blocked.
3. Despite the Spanish government's insistence that they are protecting democracy in Spain by banning tomorrow's activities, the rest of the world is not so sure. The list of international figures demanding Catalans be allowed to vote, which I posted the other day, grows every day. Plus, international observers have arrived today to ensure a democratic vote can go ahead - or at least the nearest thing possible given Spain's obstacles. They are led by a British Tory MEP - obviously a unionist, but, as he says himself, first and foremost a democrat. More here.
4. Some amazing stories. The Catalans who have flown in from Chile just to vote. The Catalan girl living in Miami who's travelled to the Catalan office in New York to vote. An eighty-year-old who was operated on yesterday says he'll be out voting. And many many more....
5. What will the turnout be like - that is the question no one knows the answer to. All we know is we need to get numbers at the polling station doors as soon as they open, just in case the police try to prevent them opening, and that we have to stay calm and peaceful whatever happens - whatever right-wing, neo-fascist, provocations occur, like today in Barcelona where there was a bit of trouble. Many people will not be sleeping tonight, everyone's nervous and excited. It's going to be a big night on Twitter! I'll be ferrying my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to vote first thing tomorrow, and we've printed up our voting slips just in case the police confiscate them in the night.
I hope, and expect, the Catalans to offer yet one more example of a festive fun-filled peaceful celebration of democracy. If not, the next blog post may be sent from the local jail....