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Police Clash With Voters During Independence Referendum in Catalonia, Spain; 337 Injured

Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum was in chaos on Sunday, with studies of tons of injured as Spain’s nationwide police launched a widespread crackdown on the vote.

Pro-Referendum supporters clash with members of the Spanish National Police, after police tried to enter a polling station to retrieve ballot boxes during a referendum vote on October 1, 2017 in, Spain. (Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Pro-Referendum supporters conflict with members of the Spanish National Police, after police tried to enter a polling station to retrieve poll containers throughout a referendum vote on October 1, 2017 in, Spain. (Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont condemned “indiscriminate aggression” in opposition to peaceable voters. Spanish authorities appeared decided to disclaim the vote legitimacy by stopping as many individuals as potential from casting ballots.

Regional authorities mentioned 337 folks had been wounded after Madrid deployed the nationwide police drive to shut down polling stations. Catalan emergency companies confirmed the quantity to CNN.

Barcelona’s deputy mayor mentioned police fired rubber bullets at folks as they tried to vote in the referendum, which Spain’s high courtroom has declared unlawful.

Spain’s Interior Ministry mentioned 9 members of the nationwide police drive and two members of the Civil Guard had been injured in scuffles.

Spain: referendum is ‘blatantly illegal’

The nationwide authorities is implacably against any breakaway strikes by the northeastern area In a press convention in Madrid Sunday, Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría blamed the violence on the “crazy rush” of the Catalan regional authorities to carry the “unconstitutional” vote.

“The referendum couldn’t be held, and it’s not been held. To carry on with this farce makes no sense, it doesn’t lead anywhere,” she mentioned.

Defending the nationwide police actions, Saenz de Santamaria mentioned their goal had been to grab materials related to the referendum and to not goal Catalans.

She known as on the Catalan authorities to halt its “irresponsible behavior” and name off the vote. “Despite the blatant illegality of this, they wanted to continue, using children and old people recklessly.”

Catalan authorities condemns ‘state violence’

In Girona, the place Puigdemont was as a result of vote, police smashed their manner right into a polling station by breaking a glass window. Puigdemont forged his poll in a close-by village.

Catalan authorities mentioned Education Minister Clara Ponsati i Obiols was forcibly faraway from her polling station.

Regional authorities spokesperson Jordi Turull informed a press convention in Barcelona two hours after polling started that regardless of the Spanish authorities’s efforts, 73% of the polling stations, four,661 in whole, had been open.

He accused Madrid of being chargeable for “a state violence unknown to Spain since the age of Franco,” referring to the previous army dictator Francisco Franco who dominated the nation with an iron fist for 36 years till 1975.

Turull added that “the violation of fundamental rights in Catalonia is not an internal problem of Spain, it is an internal problem of the EU, and we Catalans are citizens of the EU.”

When requested by a reporter if it was all price it, he replied, “Defending democracy will be always worth it.”

In a tweet, the Catalan administration known as on the Spanish authorities consultant in the province to resign.

Catalonia’s separatist authorities has remained adamant that the vote on independence would go forward. Many faculties designated as polling stations had been occupied in a single day in an try to hold them open on referendum day.

Voters defy Madrid to forged ballots

“This moment means a lot to me,” Joana Rauet, 89, informed CNN after casting her vote on the Josep Maria Jojol college in Barcelona Sunday. “I feel satisfied that I was able to take part. I’m feeling very happy,” she mentioned. Voters had been clapped and hugged by a ready crowd as they left the varsity, having forged their poll. People informed CNN that they had been informed to remain in case the police arrived to close the voting station down.

“If the police show up, I will stand my ground. I will peacefully resist,” Xan Fernando, 20, a scholar informed CNN.

The dispute between the regional authorities in Barcelona and the Spanish authorities has change into more and more bitter in latest weeks, with mass protests held throughout the area.

In the runup to the vote, nationwide authorities seized poll papers, voter lists and marketing campaign materials, in addition to sending hundreds of additional nationwide police to the area. High-ranking Catalan officers concerned in organizing the referendum had been arrested.

In the previous few days, authorities blocked the usage of a voting location app and seized vote-counting software program.

Puigdemont, who known as the referendum in June, had urged voters to go to the polls Sunday regardless of Madrid’s opposition.

The 5.three million voters on the electoral roll had been being requested to reply sure or no to the query: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state, in the form of a Republic?”

Polling stations are as a result of shut at eight p.m. native time on Sunday. Results are anticipated round 10 p.m. native time (four p.m. ET).

Why is the referendum happening?

Catalonia, a rich area in Spain’s northeast, has its personal regional authorities — or Generalitat — which already has appreciable powers over healthcare, schooling and tax assortment.

But Catalan nationalists need extra, arguing that they’re a separate nation with their very own historical past, tradition and language and that they need to have elevated fiscal independence.

The area pays tax to Madrid, and pro-independence politicians argue that complicated mechanisms for redistributing tax income are unfair on wealthier areas and end result in Catalonian revenues subsidizing different components of Spain.

Others, together with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, insist that the nation can’t be divided.

Catalonia’s marketing campaign to interrupt away has been gaining momentum since 2010, when Spain’s financial system plunged throughout the monetary disaster. Catalonia held a symbolic ballot in 2014, in which 80% of voters backed full secession — however solely 32% of the citizens turned out.

The Catalan authorities has not but made clear the way it will reply in the occasion of a “yes” vote.

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