A group of MPs and peers writes to denounce Spain’s attempts to block the referendum in Catalonia. And more than a hundred academics put their names to a letter condemning Madrid’s crackdown

We, the undersigned peers and MPs, have a range of opinions on whether Catalonia should be independent or remain part of Spain (Report, 21 September) . However, we all agree that the issue should be decided by the people of Catalonia in a democratic and peaceful way. We are extremely disturbed by the measures taken by the Spanish government to prevent the referendum, agreed to by the Catalan parliament, taking place on 1 October.

These measures include: taking to court 700 Catalan mayors for allowing preparations for the vote to go ahead, seizing campaign material and ballot papers, threatening to cut off power to polling stations, arresting and charging a newspaper editor accused of aiding the preparations for the referendum and banning a public meeting called in Madrid to discuss the issue. The Spanish government has now sent in the Civil Guard to occupy government buildings, with ministers and officials arrested, and has taken control of the Catalan government’s finances.

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