The official website of the independence referendum to be held on October 1 (referendum.cat) stopped working on Wednesday afternoon, after the Spanish police delivered a judicial order to the web domain company ordering its closure. Immediately afterwards, the Catalan government launched two new websites with the same content (ref1oct.eu and ref1oct.cat).

“The world of electronic communications does not have borders,” Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, said on Wednesday in an interview with Catalan Public Television. “They can shut down one website. But if you know in advance this might happen, you automatically launch a new one.”

The new website has been registered by EuroDNS, a company based in Luxembourg. This could make it harder for the Spanish government to shut it down. The original one was based in Catalonia.

The website is available in Catalan, Spanish, Aranese and English and provides all the information about the October 1 vote, such as the referendum regulations, details on how to vote and the promotional video that has also been banned by the Spanish government. It also includes a call for international monitoring and volunteers to help with the organization.

The original website went online in the early hours of September 7, right after the Catalan Parliament passed the bill providing a legal framework for the referendum and the Catalan government officially called the vote. The Spanish Constitutional Court, following allegations by the Spanish government, suspended the referendum and its legal framework the same day.

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Vicent Partal
Director de Vilaweb