- Voting in the Catalan independence referendum was immediately disrupted by riot police this morning.
- Guardia Civil in full riot gear prevented many from casting a ballot.
- Hundreds of people have been injured in the clashes.
- Ballot boxes were seized and polling stations smashed and shuttered.
- Most Catalans got to vote, but not all.
The Spanish government order its Guardia Civil to shut down polling stations early this morning in the Catalonia region of Spain. Some of the scenes are brutal, as this tweet from the former mayor of Belfast shows:
Catalan firefighters tried to protect the voters.
Multiple videos on Twitter purported to show the police firing rubber bullets at protesters on the street.
Catalans were trying to stage a referendum on whether their region of the Spanish peninsula, which includes Barcelona, should become an independent country. But the Spanish government regards the vote as an illegal act and sent riot police to seize ballot boxes and prevent people from voting.
Spain’s Constitutional Court previously ruled “that a regional government cannot call a referendum, because Spain’s constitution does not recognise the right to self-determination and establishes that sovereignty resides with Spanish citizens collectively.”
According to Europe Elects, a Twitter account that follows elections in the EU, 90% of ballot stations remained open.
Spain (Catalonia): Indy Ref
But it’s not clear whether Catalan authorities will be able to produce a final tally, as many votes are missing and lots of people were prevented from voting.
The scenes from Spain this morning were spectacular and disturbing, as police prevented people from voting on the orders of the central government in Madrid. 337 people have been injured in the clashes, according to Sky News.
Spain’s elected central government is against holding the referendum, which it has declared illegal.
Police were out in force.
Catalan voters tried to force their way in to stations to vote, and police used force to block them:
Lots of tweets came from pro-independence activists:
Voting was scheduled to start at 8.30 a.m. but police shut down polls almost immediately:
One of the most dramatic images was this woman who sustained a cut to the head as police moved in:
Here is the wider shot:
There was a massive turnout of early morning voters at some stations — and a huge police presence blocking them:
Sky News had cameras in the region and got some great shots of the action.
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