Catalonia referendum: As it happens | Spain News

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18:00 GMT – Spanish PM rejects Catalonia referendum

  • Speaking from the Palace of Moncloa in Madrid, his official residence, Mariano Rajoy, Spanish prime minister, says “there has been no referendum of self-determination in Catalonia today”.

  • Rajoy makes the comments as polls close in the controversial referendum and counting of ballot begins, with Catalan health services raising the number of people injured by police on Sunday to 761.
  • Rajoy thanks the police for doing their duties and says he will call a meeting with all political parties to reflect on the future together.

14:57 GMT – Barcelona mayor says 460 hurt in Catalonia clashes

  • Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona, said over 460 people have been injured in Catalonia in clashes with Spanish police over independence vote.
  • “As mayor of Barcelona I demand an immediate end to police charges against the defenceless population,” Colau said in a statement.
  • In a separate statement, the Catalan health service said 465 had been hurt, with two in serious condition in hospital.

13:50 GMT – FC Barcelona – Las Palmas played behind closed doors

  • Despite earlier indications that today’s FC Barcelona football match against Las Palmas was going to be postponed, FC Barcelona has put out a statement saying the match will be played behind closed doors.
  • On Twitter, the football club said it wasn’t allowed to postpone the match. Therefore, the board of directors decided the game will be played without any fans present.
  • The club also said it condemns today’s events and it supports freedom of speech.
  • Earlier today, several FC Barcelona players stated they were in favour of holding the controversial referendum on the future of Catalonia.

12:55 GMT – ‘FC Barcelona match postponed’

  • The football match between FC Barcelona and Las Palmas has been postponed due to the events unfolding in Catalonia, Spanish media are reporting.
  • Barcelona was supposed to play a home game against Las Palmas in the Camp Nou Stadium at 14.15 gmt.
  • According to BeIN Sports Spain, there is a possibility the game will be played behind closed doors without any fans present.
  • Despite the apparent cancellation of the match, thousands of fans have gathered at Camp Nou. 
  • Las Palmas stated earlier that it planned on wearing a kit with the Spanish flag embroidered on it  to support the “unity of Spain”.

12:38 GMT – At least 337 people injured due to police violence

  • At least 337 have been injured due to police violence, the Catalan Health Department has stated. In a response, the Catalan regional government has called on the injured to file complaints with the Spanish police department.
  • Several police officers also got injured. According to Spain’s Ministry of Interior, at least nine police officers and two civil guard officials were also injured.
  • Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría has defended the police actions, saying the authorities acted with “firmness and proportionality”.
  • She also said the Catalan government has behaved with absolute irresponsibility in holding referendum. “There hasn’t been a referendum or the semblance of one”, Sáenz de Santamaría said.

12:20 GMT – Barcelona mayor calls for Prime Minister’s resignation

  • Ada Colau, mayor of Catalonia’s largest city Barcelona, has called for the resignation of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Colau mainly criticised the behaviour of the Spanish police.
  • “If this is a democracy, the police action should be stopped immediately so we can later have a dialogue, which is what is needed”, Colau said.

11:46 GMT – FC Barcelona football match uncertain

  • Football club FC Barcelona could cancel Sunday night’s match after opponent Las Palmas put out a statement saying it wants to play in kits with the Spanish flag on it, according to Catalan media.
  • Earlier on Sunday, several prominent FC Barcelona players showed their support in favour of the referendum. Among them were Xavi Hernández and Gerard Piqué, who posted a video online of him casting his ballot. 

11:00 GMT – Map showing which polling stations are open

  • The Catalan government has posted a map on its Twitter account showing which polling stations are open and which are closed by Spanish police.
  • According to an earlier statement, about 73 percent of pollings stations remained open despite attempts by police to close voting centres.

10.48 GMT – Spanish police defends tactics against protesters

  • More videos of riots between protesters and riot police are being posted online, showing law enforcement officers firing rubber bullets at crowds and trying to enter a school where votes are being cast.
  • After these videos of police violence against voters and protesters emerged, the Guardia Civil police department has said it is “resisting harassment and provocations proportionally” while “defending the law”.

Read more: Catalonia referendum – Today’s questions answered

  • In a message on Twitter the Guardia Civil also posted a video purportedly showing the harassment and provocation the written statement was referring to.

10:02 GMT – Interior Minister Zoido: Police acting “proportionate and professional”

  • Juan Ignacio Zoido‏, Spain’s Interior minister, has called the actions by the police “proportionate and professional” despite several videos showing violence between police and protesters and reports of people being injured by rubber bullets.
  • Zoido made the comment on his Twitter account, accompanied by a video of a police officer helping a man and child.

Read more: Who are the Catalans?

09:48 GMT – At least 38 people injured due to violence

  • Emergency services have treated at least 38 people for various injuries which were sustained during riots between protesters and riot police, the Catalan government reported on Twitter.
  • The government called the injuries “the result of the repression by the Spanish police”.

09:30 GMT – Riot police fire rubber bullets at protesters

  • Witnesses report Spanish riot police has fired rubber bullets at people partaking in the Catalan referendum on independence. Several people claimed they were injured by the rubber balls fired by the police.
  • Another man showed injuries to his back saying that “we have to protest in a non-violent way but but how will we end up? This way.”

Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, one of the main proponents of the controversial referendum, has strongly condemned the use of any kind of violence. Puigdemont said the “unjustifiable violence” creates a terrible image of Spain.

09:20 GMT – 73 percent of voting centers open

  • Jordi Turull, a spokesman for Catalonia’s government, has said that 73 percent of about 6,000 polling stations are open despite a crackdown by police to try to halt the referendum.
  • Turull called for Catalans to remain calm and patient but to defend “in a civic and peaceful manner” their right to vote. Turull issued the statement after riot police blocked voting in some polling centers and confiscated ballot boxes amid clashes with protesting voters. 

08:45 GMT – Regional government members cast vote despite police interference 

  • Several members of the Catalan regional government have cast their ballots in the banned referendum on independence. Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont had to divert to Cornella de Terri, near the northern city of Girona, after police took over control of the original polling station where he planned to vote.
  • Puigdemont is one of the key separatist politicians who has pushed to go ahead with the vote despite the Constitutional Court banning the referendum.
  • Spanish media report that regional vice president Oriol Junqueras also had to go to a different polling location after police took control of the station where he originally planned to cast his vote.

08:30 GMT – Catalan voters confront police in Barcelona

  • Catalan voters shouting, “Occupation forces get out” forced Spanish National Police to retreat from the education ministry building in Barcelona.
  • A Catalan voter told Al Jazeera, “We want our country free. They are gone!” referring to the Spanish government.

08:27 GMT – Riot police forces its way into polling station in Girona

  • A polling station in the Sant Julia de Ramis sports centre near the city of Girona has become the scene of riots as Catalan protesters clashed with police. Protesters shouting, “We will vote” and “Get out” marched towards the riot police.
  • Police officers forced their way into the voting centre using lock cutters and a hammer to gain access to the building where Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was scheduled to vote this morning.

08:00 GMT – Clashes between Catalan voters and riot police

  • Spanish riot police clashed with Catalans voters in Barcelona who want to cast their ballot in the referendum.

07:00 GMT – Polls open in controversial Catalan referendum

  • Thousands of Catalans are expected to cast their ballots in the referendum, which will have no legal status as it has been blocked by Spain’s Constitutional Court and Madrid for being at odds with the 1978 constitution.
  • Catalans were defying rain and police orders to leave designated polling booths as the referendum got under way on the region’s secession that has challenged Spain’s political and institutional order. 
  • The central government in Madrid had previously said 1,300 of 2,315 designated voting stations have been sealed off by police, who have been mobilised in the thousands in the region.
  • Regional separatist leaders have pledged to hold the referendum despite the closure of the polling stations, which are most  schools and other facilities.
  • Police have been ordered not to use force but to empty schools where polling stations deemed illegal have been set up.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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