Catalan Referendum: 'Hundreds Hurt' as Police Try to Stop Voters
Albanian Daily News
Published October 1, 2017
Spain's deputy prime minister said police had acted in a "proportionate" wayBarcelona's mayor says at least 460 people have been injured as police have used force to try to prevent voting in Catalonia's independence referendum.
The Spanish government has pledged to stop a poll that was declared illegal by the country's constitutional court.
Police officers are preventing some people from voting, and seizing ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.
In the regional capital Barcelona, police used batons and fired rubber bullets during pro-referendum protests.
Updating the injury toll to 460, Barcelona's Mayor Ada Colau condemned police actions against what she said was the region's "defenceless" population.
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Meanwhile, the Spanish interior ministry said 12 police officers had been hurt and three people arrested. It added that 92 polling stations had been closed.
The national police and Guardia Civil - a paramilitary force charged with police duties - were sent into Catalonia in large numbers to prevent the vote from taking place.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said: "The unjustified use of violence... by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people"
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police had "acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way"
Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido blamed Mr Puigdemont for what he termed the day's senseless events
The Guardia Civil said it was "resisting harassment and provocation" while carrying out its duties "in defence of the law"
One voter, Júlia Graell, told the BBC that "police started to kick people, young and old", adding: "Today, I have seen the worst actions that a government can do to the people of its own country."
In Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station where Mr Puigdemont was due to vote, and forcibly removed those looking to place their ballots. Mr Puigdemont was able to vote at another polling station.
The BBC's Tom Burridge, in Barcelona, witnessed police being chased away from one polling booth after they had raided it.
Since Friday, thousands of people have occupied schools and other buildings designated as polling stations in order to keep them open.
Many of those inside were parents and their children, who remained in the buildings after the end of lessons on Friday and bedded down in sleeping bags on gym mats.