Riot police have fired rubber bullets on people trying to reach polling stations, while voters have been pictured covered in blood and the Barcelona vs Las Palmas match has been suspended.
Catalonia’s government spokesman said 337 people have been injured, some seriously, in the police crackdown.
The region, which includes the cities of Barcelona and Girona, has its own language and many who live there want it to become its own republic and break away from Spain. But Madrid is cracking down, refusing to recognize the validity of the referendum and ordering police to close polling stations and seize ballot boxes.
— Pablo Iglesias (@Pablo_Iglesias_) October 1, 2017
— Vicent Galiana (@gacavi2) October 1, 2017
— Michael Stothard (@MStothard) October 1, 2017
In Catalonia just now:
•Guys with balaclavas & snatching polling boxes = Democrats.
•Pesky folk attempting to vote = Criminal Separatists. pic.twitter.com/cYRK0s71Eg
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) October 1, 2017
— Dave (@OfficialTheDave) October 1, 2017
Courage of #Catalonia Has Won
— Jorah Mommont (@pmkXOXO) October 1, 2017
— SF6 (@Th3SF6) October 1, 2017
— GAME OVER (@_basta_ya) October 1, 2017
Police had been ordered not to use force, but things rapidly disintegrated at several polling stations. Most of those people treated by emergency services sustained slight injuries and three suffered more serious injuries, the Catalan services said on Twitter.
Daniel Riano, 54, who tried to vote at a school in Barcelona, said: ‘We were waiting inside to vote when the National Police used force to enter, they used a mace to break in the glass door and they took everything.
‘One policeman put me in a headlock to drag me out, while I was holding my wife’s hand. It was incredible. They didn’t give any warning’.
— Catalans for Yes (@CatalansForYes) October 1, 2017
Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont accused Spanish authorities of using ‘unjustified, disproportionate and irresponsible’ violence in a crackdown on a Catalan independence referendum on Sunday.
The batons, rubber bullets, and violence used by Spanish police had shown a ‘dreadful external image of Spain’, he told reporters.
‘The unjustified, disproportionate and irresponsible violence of the Spanish state today has not only failed to stop Catalans’ desire to vote … but has helped to clarify all the doubts we had to resolve today,’ he said.