After their successful parliamentary elections in 2015, Catalonia votes Sunday on independence from Spain. Madrid is decidedly not happy and has sent police to seize voting boxes and to arrest pro-independence officials. There are also reports of clashes between police sent to stop the “illegal” Catalonia Independence referendum and Catalans eager for independence.

The Washington Post reports:

When Catalans go to the polls on Sunday, they’ll find just one question on the ballot: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

. . . . Catalonia is the richest region in Spain, and the most highly industrialized too. It houses many of Spain’s metalworking, food-processing, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. It also boasts a booming tourism industry, thanks to popular spots like Barcelona. The region makes up about 16 percent of Spain’s population and accounts for 20 percent of the Spanish national economy.

Catalans often complain that they contribute more in taxes to the Spanish government than they get back. In 2014, Catalonia paid about $11.8 billion more to Spain’s tax authorities than they got back. But as the BBC explains, “the complexity of budget transfers makes it hard to judge exactly how much more Catalans contribute in taxes than they get back from investment in services such as schools and hospitals.”

Historical background on Catalonia independence can be found here.

Catalan youth marched yesterday for independence.

The Spanish Prime Minister has called the vote illegal and insisted that it “won’t happen.” To that end, Spanish police have been deployed to stop the election by taking voting boxes and blocking, even tackling, Catalans to keep them from voting.

The Independent reports that Catalonia’s firefighters placed themselves between the Spanish riot police and Catalan civilians.

The Washington Post continues:

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has condemned the vote as illegal. “I say this both calmly and firmly: There will be no referendum, it won’t happen,” he said. He and others have argued that the vote would undermine the rule of law, and that it could set a dangerous precedent.

Rajoy has sent thousands of troops in to stop it from happening. (They are living, at the moment, in cruise ships off the Catalan coast.) Spanish police have seized millions of ballot forms and arrested more than a dozen pro-independence officials. Websites informing Catalans about the election have been shuttered.

. . . . Despite the Spanish government’s best efforts, voting will likely take place, at least in some places. Parents are camped out at schools to ensure that they can be opened for voting. (“We will stay until Sunday,” one woman told the New York Times. “On Sunday, we will resist entirely.”) An app has been devised to help voters find polling stations.

Watch the report: