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Catalonia will hold an illegal independence vote on Sunday

Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region of Spain, is expected to hold an independence vote on Nov. 9.

The vote is illegal in the eyes of the Spanish government, but the government will likely "look the other way" instead of preventing it, Time reports. The vote is non-binding, though, which has "left both Catalans and Spaniards wondering what Sunday's vote will mean."

"We will vote, and we will win," Carme Forcadell, a former Catalan politician who is now a teacher, said at a pro-independence rally. "We should be able to decide how we spend our own resources and what level of solidarity we want to show toward others," Forcadell, president of the citizens' Catalan National Assembly, told The New York Times. She's been working with other activists on the independence vote since she was a college student in the 1970s.

Figures like Forcadell are the reason the independence movement has hung on, despite being suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court. The court first ruled against Catalan independence in 2010, voting against a preamble that called Catalonia a nation. Since then, more than a million Catalonians have expressed support for independence, though it's still not clear exactly what Sunday's vote will achieve.