A planned vote in Catalonia on independence from Spain will not go ahead on Sunday, Spain's government says.
"I insist that there will be no referendum on October 1," spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said during a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting, reiterating the government's position that the vote was illegal.
Earlier, Catalonia's leader made it clear his government is determined to go ahead with the vote, which has thrust Spain into its most dramatic political crisis for decades.
"Everything is prepared at the more than 2,000 voting points so they have ballot boxes and voting slips, and have everything people need to express their opinion," Carles Puigdemont told Reuters.
Spain's central authorities have sent thousands of police reinforcements to Catalonia to ensure no votes are cast. Regional courts have ordered police to cordon off schools scheduled to be used as ballot stations.
Separatists have called on people to turn out at the polling stations in a mass statement of "peaceful resistance", even if they are prevented from voting.