Catalan police ordered to crack down on disputed ballot

Spain's government has ordered Catalonia's regional police force to identify officials at local schools and other civic buildings expected to be used as polling stations in a controversial independence referendum.

Spanish authorities say the Oct. 1 ballot on whether the Catalan region should secede from Spain is illegal, and is cracking down on organizers by threatening them with prosecution.

The order places further pressure on the Catalan police, who were acting on instructions from central Spanish authorities against their fellow Catalans in the emotionally-charged standoff.

The Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid said Tuesday the order to note down the personal details of officials was given to police by the top state prosecutor in Catalonia.