Spain’s Guardia Civil shuts down ANC’s website, the platform opens another in under two hours

The Spanish gendarmes also blocked access to empaperem.cat, vullvotar.cat and Alerta Solidària’s website

The Guardia Civil has shut down the ANC’s website, whose now-defunct home page features the police force’s logo alongside a message stating that the domain "has been seized pursuant to a seizure warrant under the judicial authority and is under its administration". The same statement appears on other 1-O websites that have also been shut down. The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) confirmed its website had been shut down and announced that it was considering opening alternative domains. In under two hours it had in fact opened a new page: www.assemblea.eu.

Other websites related to the referendum, such as vullvotar.cat were also shut down, alongside others that were not directly connected to 1 October, such as Alerta Solidària (alerta.cat), a pro-independence left-wing organization that supports detainees. The newspaper La Vanguardia estimates that as many as 140 websites have been shut down.

The websites were closed without prior warning. Guardia Civil sources confirmed that several websites have been closed, by "court order".

Gradual closure

The results of the Guardia Civil’s activities gradually began to take effect this Monday: indeed, until 23:00 a few devices (both handheld and PCs) were still able to access the original website. The ANC, who were not notified of the website’s closure, believe the action was carried out by the company hosting the site.

In an interview on the news channel 3/24, Jordi Sànchez, the president of the ANC declared the decision to close the website to be "a direct attack on the freedom of expression". He went on to say it is "another example of the absurdity of Mariano Rajoy's government", while confirming that the Assembly's IT department is working on opening a new domain. "As Puigdemont said, you can’t stem the tide", Sànchez added.

Meanwhile, the Guardia Civil’s logo has also appeared on empaperem.cat, the domain behind the massive poster campaign and which made 1-O material available to download. In this instance, those responsible for the website take it for granted it has been shut down.

The organisers behind the empaperem.cat site have already opened a new page, empaperem.com, with a clone of the website for anyone who wishes to mirror it. Also, the individuals behind www.vullvotar.cat, a website aimed at explaining how Catalans living abroad can vote on 1 October, announced that their page has been shut down. It is not an isolated incident, since Alerta Solidària’s page has also been shut down.

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