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As judge has referendum website shut down, Catalan government activates mirror

Spain’s gendarmes turned up at hosting firm CDmon and ordered staff to take down the site

By land, sea and air. On Wednesday Madrid stepped up its judicial onslaught against the referendum on independence. Following the General Attorney’s instruction to Catalonia’s DAs to summon over 700 mayors who have offered local venues to be used as polling stations, on Wednesday afternoon Barcelona’ Court House 13 —the same that saw the Santiago Vidal case— had the referendum’s website shut down. Shortly afterwards, the Catalan president himself, Carles Puigdemont, announced that the site was up again with a different domain name. The URL provided by Puigdemont didn’t always load properly, but it worked fine if you swapped .cat for .eu

The new website is registered with a Luxembourg-based company called EuroDNS whose contact phone number bears a Luxembourg country code, but with a postal address in Canterbury, UK. Following the lead takes you to a web hosting business called hetzner.com whose servers are based in Germany. If, indeed, the new website is hosted abroad, only an international warrant could shut it down.

This newspaper has confirmed that, as reported by Spanish daily El País, on Wednesday two plainclothes Guardia Civil officers turned up at CDmon with a warrant to shut down the independence referendum website. The URL www.referendum.cat remained active until late in the afternoon and went down at about 7 pm. The information available on the site includes all the regulations for the independence referendum that has been suspended by Spain’s Constitutional Court, as well as the advert that promotes the vote.

The domain has been taken offline and no information can be displayed on it. Founded in 2002, CDmon is a web hosting provider with two offices, one in Malgrat de Mar and the other in Barcelona city. As a result of the Guardia Civil’s action, the website address is no longer operational and the content cannot be modified. Nevertheless, Alerta Solidària (a far-left separatist group) has cloned the website, which has also been mirrored elsewhere.

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