BARCELONA, Spain – A referendum on whether Catalonia should secede from Spain is putting intense pressure on the region's police officers, who feel caught between their oath to the nation's constitution and loyalty to local leaders who have vowed to create a new European state.
Francesc Vidal is a 16-year veteran of the force known as the Mossos d'Esquadra. He describes the Oct. 1 referendum as a "train collision" between Spanish authorities who want to stop what they consider an illegal vote and Catalan separatists who insist the balloting go forward.
Vidal says officers don't want to be the middle because they take orders from both sides.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has pledged to declare independence should secessionists manage to stage the secession referendum and win it.