Will Barcelona secede from Spain? Catalan independence is up for a vote — and Russia is stirring the pot

Will Barcelona secede from Spain? Catalan independence is up for a vote — and Russia is stirring the potHere in Spain’s second-largest city, long a magnet for American tourists, life on the surface appears as festive as ever, from the beach terraces laden with pitchers of sangria to the crowds browsing the kiosks on the pedestrian median of La Rambla, which almost immediately returned to normal after last month’s terror attack. But the tension brewing just below the surface of Catalonia, the wealthy northeast region of 7.5 million of which Barcelona is capital, burst into the open Wednesday morning with a series of raids by national police on the regional ministry of finance, leading to at least a dozen arrests of senior officials, followed by hours of flag-waving marches and demonstrations. At issue is a wave of Catalan nationalism culminating in a referendum on secession, scheduled for October 1.



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