Catalan referendum: Clashes as voters defy Madrid

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Catalonia’s independence referendum has descended into chaos, with clashes occurring as police attempt to prevent the vote from taking place.
The Spanish government has pledged to stop a poll that was declared illegal by the country’s constitutional court.
Police officers are preventing 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.
Catalan emergency services said they had treated 38 people who were injured when police pushed back crowds of voters and forced their way into polling stations.
The Spanish interior ministry said 11 police officers had been injured.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont condemned the action of the national police and Guardia Civil, who were sent into Catalonia in large numbers to prevent the vote from taking place.
“The unjustified use of violence… by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people,” he told reporters.
But Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido blamed Mr Puigdemont for what he termed the day’s senseless events.
And the Guardia Civil tweeted (in Spanish) that it was “resisting harassment and provocation” while carrying out its duties “in defence of the law”.

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