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The Latest: Police arrests Catalan crackdown

MADRID (AP) -- The Latest on independence efforts in Spain's Catalonia region (all times local):

11:05 a.m.

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. 1referendum.

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.


10:10 a.m.

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 arrest of Josep Maria Jove, secretary general of economic affairs and number two to the region's vice president Oriol Junqueras, took place on Wednesday morning as agents of Spain's Civil Guard searched the premises of the regional department of economy, a spokeswoman with the institution said.

A spokesman for Junqueras confirmed the arrest and said that other Catalan government premises were being searched by the agents. Both officials declined to be identified by name, following internal protocol.

The central government is waging myriad legal battles to halt the Oct. 1 referendum called by the pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia, in northeastern Spain.