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Catalan government says voters may use any polling station in referendum

02 October 2017

Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations in Catalonia on Sunday as thousands flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid.

"It has been the opposite as they have injured people with rubber bullets, which are illegal in Catalonia".

The ballot has been blocked by Spain's Constitutional Court and Madrid for being at odds with the 1978 constitution so will have no legal status.

Barcelona's La Liga game against Las Palmas was played behind closed doors as a protest after their request for it to be postponed in light of Catalonia's independence referendum was rejected.

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The Catalonian government has announced that 2.2 million ballots were cast in its independence referendum and 90 per cent of those votes were in favour of the region breaking away from Spain, compared to 7.8 per cent against.

Parents supporting the referendum are camping out over the weekend at schools that are among the 2,315 designated voting facilities to stop police shutting them down.

Santiago, speaking to BuzzFeed News over the phone from a northern district of Barcelona, said the situation was "surreal" but that she and other firefighters who are part of the pro-Independence movement were determined to help people vote.

Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain.

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The Catalan government claimed a further 700,000 people were prevented from voting. Spain's interior ministry said at least 11 police officers were also hurt in clashes with protesters and three people were arrested.

Challenged by Stone about the tactics used, Spain's foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said: "I don't agree with you that this is an extraordinary level of violence. The rule of law remains in force with all its strength", he said in a televised address.

An elderly woman was injured when police broke into a polling station in Girona, where Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont was supposed to vote. Puigdemont voted at another polling station.

"I am and I feel like a Catalan and today I am proud of the people of Catalunya".

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The Catalan government said voters could print out ballot papers at home and lodge them at any polling station not closed down by police.

Catalan government says voters may use any polling station in referendum