FLAG-WAVING crowds have cheered Guardia Civil heading to Catalunya ahead of Sunday’s planned independence referendum.

Dozens of supporters belted out the football chants Yo Soy Espanol (I’m Spanish) and A Por Ellos (Go and get them) as police reinforcements left Huelva, Andalucia.

Similar scenes were played out in other Andalucian towns and cities as the hashtag #AporEllos trended on Twitter.

Spanish authorities have hired cruise ships off Barcelona and Tarragona to house up to 6,000 extra police officers.

Last week, there were tense scenes when 40,000 protesters took to Barcelona’s streets after the arrests of 14 Catalan officials involved in the independence vote.

There were scuffles between protesters and police, with Guardia Civil cars vandalised.

The Catalan government has defied a Constitutional Court ruling to halt Sunday’s vote, which the court has ruled is illegal.



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