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Sep 20, 4:10 AM EDT

Police arrests Catalan official amid referendum crackdown

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MADRID (AP) -- 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.

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