As of Sunday afternoon, more than 760 people were injured in Catalonia after Spanish police clashed with Catalan citizens who attempted to cast votes for the region’s independence referendum, which Madrid has deemed unconstitutional, Reuters reports.
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Despite the reports of violence, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy praised the police force for its actions in Catalonia Sunday.
Alarming photos and videos continued to circulate on social media into the evening:
Catalan officials say Spanish police have injured more than 330 people who tried to vote during Catalonia’s independence referendum on Sunday.
Madrid has declared the vote unconstitutional, but Catalan citizens and members of the regional government have vowed to move forward with it. In recent days they have protested by the thousands, and even occupied more than 160 local schools that were set to serve as polling stations, in attempts to avoid the national police’s promise to prevent voting.
The BBC reports:
Catalan firefighters even battled with police officers on Sunday, trying to protect voters from the national police. Videos of their exchanges quickly circulated on Twitter:
As police continue to seize ballot materials, Catalan government officials are allowing voters to print their own ballot papers and use any open polling station if theirs is shut down. Ballot papers simply as voters “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” and instruct them to check a box for “Yes” or “No.”
The regional government leader Carles Puigdemont condemned violence by the national police and Guardia Civil, who were sent to Catalonia to help with Madrid’s effort to stop the vote.
“The unjustified use of violence,” Puigdemont said, “by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people.”
Several public figures outside of Spain turned to social media on Sunday to condemn the violence: