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Observer: referendum in Crimea in progress freely, without pressure on people

March 16, 2014, 14:14 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
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SIMFEROPOL, March 16,  /ITAR-TASS/. A referendum in Crimea that started at 8am local time (10am Moscow time) on Sunday is being held freely and without any pressure, lawmaker from Spain’s Catalonian parliament Enrique Ravello who is an international observer said on Sunday.

“The voting is in progress normally. No pressure on people is observed,” Ravello said, noting a very high turnout at polling stations.

“You have much more freedom here that in our Catalonia,” the observer noted. He added that Catalonia intended to hold a similar referendum in November that is supported by around 80 percent of local residents, but Spanish government stated that they would not permit to hold it. “Perhaps, Catalonia’s people will not be able to vote as freely as you today,” he noted.

Ravello, who arrived in Crimea on Saturday, noted that the situation on the peninsula differed drastically from that described in Western media. “Media in Spain report that Russian troops are controlling airports here. There were no Russian servicemen at the airport,” he noted.

“Spain says that Russian servicemen make people voting. The way Western press describes current situation is untrue,” the lawmaker added.

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