The day of reflection before the October 1st referendum became a festive event in many schools around Catalonia that will act as polling stations on Sunday. Students, PTAs, and neighbors have organized numerous activities for the entire weekend in many schools —as well as other venues-- with the aim of keeping them occupied until Sunday and, in doing so, preventing them from being sealed off by the police, who have orders to block the referendum from taking place.
Throughout the night and on Saturday morning, the Mossos d'Esquadra made appearances at many of these schools, but in most cases they merely filed a report, giving notice that there would be several visits throughout the day, and warning that the sites must be vacated before this Sunday at 6:00 am. In some cases, however, they admitted that, if there are many people within, they will take no action. Various sources have explained that the officers have been "very friendly" and that interactions with them have been "cordial".
In the City of Barcelona, for example, Escola Cervantes, in Ciutat Vella, remained open, with about 30 people spending the night on site. Some 30 people also slept over at Escola El Sagrer, in the Sagrera neighborhood, and organized percussion and face painting workshops, among others, for Saturday morning.
The Escola Industrial, one of the polling stations in the Catalan capital with the highest number of voters projected, has asked people to sleep outside the building to prevent the outer doors from being sealed. The County Council is the owner of the property and the patio, and plans to shut down the facilities at 10pm. Some 200 people participated in an assembly organized at the center.
"People have to sleep at the schools. All the schools have to be full inside to guarantee that police actions will be unsuccessful. We're asking that people who have not stayed overnight arrive at 5am in front of the centers", said the leader of the school's Referendum Defense Committee.
Situations like these have been seen in educational centers in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia.