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Parents and students occupy schools to defend Catalan vote

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Parents, children and activists in Catalonia are starting a day of activities after spending the night in schools designated as polling stations for Sunday’s vote on the region’s independence from Spain.

Yoga sessions, film screenings and picnics have been organized at some of the 2,315 voting facilities that referendum supporters are trying to keep police from shutting down.

The Spanish government considers the referendum illegal and the country’s Constitutional Court has suspended it, but regional separatists have vowed to go ahead with balloting.

People rest inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute, one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The Catalan police force is under orders to empty the buildings by early Sunday. Officers have been directed to refrain from using violence to remove parents and students.

How the 17,000 regional officers respond to the vacate order is seen as key to the success or failure of the planned vote.

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather outside of the Collaso i Gil elementary school one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather outside of the Collaso i Gil elementary school one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside the Collaso i Gil elementary school one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside the Collaso i Gil elementary school one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People rest inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People rest inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute, one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia's planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain's government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country's Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

People gather inside of the Miquel Tarradell institute, one of the designated polling stations for the disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain, in Barcelona, Spain, early Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Catalonia’s planned referendum on secession is due be held Sunday by the pro-independence Catalan government but Spain’s government calls the vote illegal, since it violates the constitution, and the country’s Constitutional Court has ordered it suspended. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

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