A man holds pro-referendum posters reading in Catalan "We vote to be free" as Spanish Civil Guards and Catalan regional police officers stand in front of the economic headquarters of Catalonia's regional government in Barcelona on September 20, 2019, during a search by Spain's Guardia Civil police. JOSEP LAGO—AFP/Getty Images
5:40 AM ET
News reports says Spanish police have arrested 12 people in raids on offices of the regional government of Catalonia as a crackdown intensifies on the region's preparations for a secession vote that Spain says is illegal.
Spain's Europa Press news agency and other media outlets said the raids Wednesday mostly targeted the region's economic and foreign departments as Spanish authorities worked to halt all preparatory moves for the planned Oct. 1 referendum.
Hundreds of people gathered to protest the raids and shout pro-independence slogans outside offices in the region's capital, Barcelona.
The Catalan regional government confirmed Josep Maria Jove, secretary general of economic affairs, was among those arrested.
Police and judicial authorities would give no details on the operation, saying a judge has placed a secrecy order on it.