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At Least 11 Policemen Injured During Scuffle Amid Referendum in Catalonia

At Least 11 Policemen Injured During Scuffle Amid Referendum in Catalonia

Riot police have fired rubber bullets at protesters in Spain, and forcefully removed voters from polling stations as Catalans attempt to cast their ballots in a disputed independence referendum. Spain's representative in the region, Enric Millo, said the vote had been "dismantled".

Catalonia's regional government, led by President Carles Puigdemont, has said the referendum is binding and, if a "yes" vote is secured, the process of independence will begin. The flowers, she said, are "for the Spanish police who have been occupying our country for more than 300 years".

Two officers in Sant Pere chatted casually with locals outside the polling station, and one of them posed with a child for a photo.

Madrid has strongly criticised the Catalan government for pushing through laws that paved the way for the referendum in Catalonia's regional parliament with little debate or opportunity for opposition parties to adding amendments.

Catalonia's government spokesman Jordi Turull called on Catalans to continue to carry out their right to vote "in a civic and peaceful manner".

Today there are several reports on social media of Spanish police firing rubber bullets at people queuing to vote in the referendum.

Lauren says when Catalan police arrived Sunday morning to confront parents and teachers camped out at a polling station at a school, "they didn't lift a finger".

He accused Madrid of being responsible for "a state violence unknown to Spain since the age of Franco", referring to the former military dictator Francisco Franco who ruled the country with an iron fist for 36 years until 1975. Many Catalans complain they get a raw deal from that system.

Yet they have no viable path to independence.

The Barcelona-born defender said in quotes reported by AS: "You vote yes, no, or leave it blank, but you vote".

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Ahead of the vote, Catalan fans said that they were hopeful that the club would support the referendum. Volunteers and ambulance attendants tended to the injured. "Barcelona, city of peace. Do not be afraid". Catalonian officers said police had closed 319 stations.

Police have also stormed other community centres and schools designated as polling stations by the Catalan regional authorities.

The Uruguayan was booked in the 51st minute for diving and it seems his frustration boiled over with just a minute of injury time left. "We're living under a state of emergency". Elderly people were applauded as they emerged from polling stations, while others hugged friends.

"If the coach (Julen Lopetegui), or any other person of the Federation think that I am a problem or that I am uncomfortable, I will not have problem to make a step aside and to leave the selection until 2018", he argued.

The Civil Guard has managed to shut down the Catalan electoral register, the Interior Ministry said on Twitter, making it impossible to conduct a proper vote.

"We tried to suspend the game all day long but it wasn't possible", Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said.

Las Palmas indicated on Sunday that it opposed the breakup of Spain, sending its players onto the pitch with small Spanish flags sewn onto their jerseys.

In scenes that reverberated around Spain, riot police smashed their way into some polling locations and beat back voters with batons as they attempted to take part in the referendum. One protester was taken away by first-aid workers on a stretcher.

Puigdemont voted in a different town in the province.

There was no sign of the additional officers from the Guardia Civil and National Police forces who had been brought in from outside Catalonia to stop the vote.