Protesters gather outside of polling center as Spain outlaws referendum
Protesters gather outside of polling center as Spain outlaws referendumREUTERS

The Spanish Constitutional Court suspended the session of the Catalan parliament in an effort to thwart efforts to have Catalonia secede from Spain.

The parliament would have discussed the results of the referendum on independence Sunday.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal and cracked down on voters. Spanish security forces blocked polling stations across Catalonia, including the regional capital of Barcelona. Police broke into 319 voting stations, local authorities said, and clashed with crowds of voters at other stations. Nearly 500 people were wounded in clashes with police.

The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Catalonia's Socialist Party, which opposes independence. According to the court, allowing the parliament to convene and vote in favor of independence this coming Monday would "violate the rights" of the Socialist party MPs.

The court warned that any session held in defiance of the ban would be "null," and that the parliament's leaders could face criminal charges if they hold a session.

Catalan parliament President Carme Forcadell slammed the court's ruling as anti-democratic. While there has been no formal decision to hold a parliamentary session next Monday, he said that the ruling "harms freedom of expression and the right of initiative of members of this parliament and shows once more how the courts are being used to solve political problems.”