Students occupied the University of Barcelona on Friday, September 22, in another grand display of support for the referendum on Catalan independence planned for the start of next month. Each of the ferries has a capacity of over 6,500 passengers.
The Catalan regional government says that a top official in the management of the region's economic affairs has been arrested as a crackdown intensifies on preparations for a secession vote that Spanish authorities have suspended.
The Spanish resident, originally from Morocco, had a close relationship with those responsible for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils which left 16 dead, according to a statement from Spain's Interior Ministry.
The statement said the extra police will provide backup for the regional Catalan police, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, who are also under orders to prevent the staging of the referendum.
Members of the Catalan National Assembly, a group of separatist activists, set up a security cordon outside the economy department's headquarters, trapping a Civil Guard squad inside as demonstrators vandalized their vehicles. A statement said the six declined to testify.
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They will join the approximately 5,000 state police normally based in Catalonia and around 17,000 Mossos officers.
Efforts by prosecutors to crack down on activists in Barcelona and other cities who are preparing to stage the ballot on October 1 are being hampered by foot-dragging within Mossos d'Esquadra, as the northeastern region's police department is known, according to four people familiar with the matter. The Spanish government called the bill illegal and challenged it in the Constitutional Court.
The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed.
Hundreds of pro-independence supporters had protested outside the courthouse to demand the officials' release.
Catalonia represents a fifth of Spain's 1.1-trillion-euro ($1.32 trillion) economy and enjoys wide self-government.
The ministry had announced earlier in the day it would begin co-ordinating all police efforts in Catalonia to crack down on preparations for the vote, including sending direct orders to the Mossos, as the north-eastern region's largest police force are often called. The region has about 5.5 million eligible voters.