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    People vote at Estel school during the banned independence referendum, in the Catalan town of Vic, Spain October 1, 2017

    Catalonia Referendum: Catalans Head to the Polls for Independence Vote

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    Catalonia holds the independence referendum this Sunday.

    Catalan residents have started casting ballots under the referendum on the region's independence from Spain with polling stations having opened at 9:00 a.m. local time (07:00 GMT), a Sputnik correspondent reported on Sunday.

    ​Thousands of local residents are standing in lines by the polling stations from about 5:00 a. m. (03:00 GMT) under the pouring rain waiting for the start of the referendum.

    As early as Friday night, some activists and local families came with children to polling stations at schools to prevent police from shutting them down before the referendum. However, according to the Spanish police, on Saturday over 1,300 schools out of 2,315 were sealed.

    The Catalan authorities are holding the independence vote this Sunday. The Spanish government called the referendum bill adopted by the Catalan parliament on September 6 illegal and challenged the legislation in the Constitutional Court, which resulted in the law's suspension making all the preparations for the referendum illegal.

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    • 05:06

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      The head of the government of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont called the results of the region's referendum on the independence from Spain "impressive".

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    • 03:03
      An elderly lady is applauded as she celebrates after voting at a school assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government at the Gracia neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 1 Oct. 2017. The Spanish government and its security forces are trying to prevent voting in the independence referendum, which is backed by Catalan regional authorities. Spanish officials had said force wouldn't be used, but that voting wouldn't be allowed.

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    • 02:07

      Catalan Leader Urges EU to Respond to Human Rights Violations During Referendum

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      Catalan Leader Urges EU to Respond to Human Rights Violations During Referendum

      The Spanish government is considering the independence referendum to be illegal and took measures aimed at foiling the vote: police resorted to rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who attempted to prevent police from shutting down the polling stations. As a result, at least 844 people were injured in clashes.
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    • 01:10

      Catalonia Wins 'Right to Statehood' - Catalan President

      Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, centre, speaks to the media at a sports center, assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government and where Puigdemont was originally expected to vote, in Sant Julia de Ramis, near Girona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Scuffles earlier erupted as voters protested as dozens of anti-rioting police broke into a polling station.

      Catalonia Wins 'Right to Statehood' - Catalan President

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    • 01:08

      Catalonia Independence Voting Process Complies With Spanish Legislation

      The voting process of the independence referendum in Catalonia was prepared in accordance with the existing Spanish legislation, former Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitrij Rupel, who led an international parliamentary delegation to monitor Sunday's referendum in Catalonia, said Sunday.

      "As far as the organization of the polling stations is concerned, we found that the process was prepared throughout and in agreement with the existing legislation of the Kingdom of Spain," Rupel told reporters.

      Nevertheless, Rupel also noted that the observers have seen some difficulties with the vote, especially with ensuring its secrecy.

      "We observed difficulties of ensuring the secrecy of the vote, at many places there were no voting booths," he said.

      Rupel also added that main problems of the referendum were the legal limitations and political threats to the referendum personnel, including the central electoral commission, and confiscation of ballots by the Spanish police.

    • 23:34

      Total of 844 People Wounded in Clashes With Police in Catalonia

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      The Health Ministry reports that 844 people were injured in clashes with police in Catalonia.
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    • 23:11

      Catalan Gov't Urges Citizens to Stay Near Polling Stations Until Counting Ends

      The Catalan regional government urges the Catalan residents through the social media and watsapp-groups to stay near and inside the polling stations across the region to ensure safe ballots' counting after the polling station closure.

    • 23:07

      Over 30 Officers Injured in Clashes During Catalan Referendum

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    • 21:28

      Spain's PM Reportedly Claims There Was No Independence Vote in Catalonia Today

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    • 21:19

      At Least 761 Catalans Injured During Independence Vote

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    • 21:11

      Polling Stations in Catalonia Closed

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    • 21:08

      Court Proceedings Opened Against Catalan Police for Admission to Voting Stations

      Up to 10 court proceedings have been launched in Catalonia against local police forces (Mossos d'Esquadra) for admission of voters to the polling stations within the independence referendum, local media reported on Sunday.

    • 21:06

      Merkel Asks Explanations From Rajoy Over Catalonia's Police Violence

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with her Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, regarding the violence of the Catalonia 's  police aiming to prevent the holding of an independence referendum.

      According to Die Welt journalist Holger Zschäpitz, Merkel called Rajoy to find out the injured toll in Catalonia.

    • 20:43

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    • 20:28

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      People vote at Estel school during the banned independence referendum, in the Catalan town of Vic, Spain, October 1, 2017.

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    • 20:01

      Catalan Ombudsman Urges Council of Europe to Respond to Violence at Referendum

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      Spanish Guardia Civil guards drag a man outside a polling station in Sant Julia de Ramis, where Catalan president was supposed to vote, on October 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid

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    • 19:56

      Catalan residents waiting for the preliminary results of the independence referendum at the main Barcelona square.

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    • 19:55
      Spanish Guardia Civil guards drag a man outside a polling station in Sant Julia de Ramis, where Catalan president was supposed to vote, on October 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid

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      Catalan Ombudsman Rafael Ribo said the Council of Europe should respond to the violent actions of the Spanish police during the independence referendum.
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    • 18:14

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    • 16:27

      Voter Turnout at Catalan Referendum Amounts to Over 50% - Local Authorities

      The voter turnout at the referendum on Catalan independence from Spain has already exceeded 50 percent by the middle of the day, Catalan government's spokesman Jordi Turull said on Sunday.

      "Over 50 percent of voters have cast their ballots at those polling stations, where police do not interfere," Turull said.

    • 15:48

      Catalan Government Says 337 People Injured in Clashes With Police

      A total of 337 people have been injured in clashes with Spanish police during the independence referendum in Catalonia, Catalan government's spokesman Jordi Turull said Sunday.

      "337 people have been injured by the Spanish state police violence. We ask them to file a complaint with Mossos," Turull told a press conference, as quoted in the local government's Twitter.

      ​The spokesman added that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was to blame for the ongoing violence.

      "The police interference responds to the 'Go get them' attitude. The person responsible is Mariano Rajoy," he said.

    • 15:32

      Voting at Catalonia Independence Referendum Held at 96% of Polling Stations - Catalan Authorities

    • 14:23

      Website for Online Voting in Catalan Referendum Partially Functions

      The website for online voting in the Catala referendum is partially functioning. Citizens can enter the website, but the voting function is still down.

      According to the message on the website, the Catalans who hadn't been able to cast their vote at the polling stations could do this online until 23.59 p.m. local time. 

      "In order to cast your vote, you should provide your passport data and your phone number," the message reads. 

    • 13:45

      Spanish Government Representative Calls Police Actions in Catalonia Proportionate

      Spanish government's representative in Catalonia Enric Millo said on Sunday that the actions of the National Police and Civil Guard during the independence referendum in Catalonia were professional and proportionate.

      "The National Police and Civil Guard are implementing the decisions of the Catalan Supreme Court. Police officers are acting professionally and proportionately in each case," Millo told reporters.

      He added that the Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquarda) had expressed its readiness to "cooperate with the Spanish security forces."

    • 12:51

      Catalan Emergency Service Says 38 Injured, Mostly Minor Injuries, As Result of Police Actions

      At least 38 people were injured in Catalonia on Sunday as a result of clashes between protesters and police amid the referendum on the region's independence from Spain, the Catalan Health Ministry said.

      "The emergency services provided 38 people, injured in clashes with police, with medical assistance. Light injuries were sustained by 35 of them, while three people have injuries of moderate severity," the ministry wrote on Twitter.

      Nine people were sent to hospitals. They are suffering from dizziness, panic attacks and physical injuries.

    • 12:40

      Watch Catalan Referendum Via Sputnik Correspondent

    • 12:29

      Over 70% of Polling Stations for Catalonia's Independence Referendum Open - Authorities

      More than 70 percent of polling stations are open in Catalonia, which holds on Sunday a referendum on the independence from Spain, Catalan government's spokesman Jordi Turull said.

      "A total of 73 percent of polling stations are open and operating, that means three-quarters ... Catalonia is voting," Turull at a press conference.

      He called on Catalan residents to cast their ballots.

      Turull also refused to comment on the reports about people injured in clashes with police, saying that he had not enough information on the issue.

    • 12:28

      Catalonia's Government Demands Resignation of Spanish Representative in Region

      The authorities of Catalonia demanded the immediate resignation of Enrico Millau, the Spanish government representative in the region, accusing him of repressive actions.

      The statement was made by Jordi Turul, the official representative of the Catalan government at a press conference in Barcelona on Sunday.

    • 12:18

      Police Standoff With Firemen: Sant Julia de Ramis

      Police standoff with firemen: Sant Julia de Ramis

    • 12:16

      Violence Erupts in Town on Barcelona Outskirts

      Violence in a town on the outskirts of Barcelona.

    • 11:51

      Catalan Gov't Says Group of Academics to Evaluate Catalan Referendum on Sunday Night

    • 11:42

      Spanish Police Reportedly Fire Rubber Bullets at Protesters

    • 11:31

      Catalan Leader Votes in Referendum Despite Crackdown - Regional Govt.

      Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has cast his ballot in the referendum, images from TV3 television channel showed.

      He voted in the village of Cornella del Terri in the province of Girona, the regional government said, not in the village originally planned where police broke down the door of the voting station. (Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Adrian Croft)

       

    • 11:22

      Spanish Gov't Representative Calls Catalan Independence Referendum 'Farce'

      Spanish government's representative in Catalonia Enric Millo characterized on Sunday the region's referendum on independence as a "farce," pointing out that the vote was not organized properly.

      "This referendum is a 'farce' without proper polling stations, without envelopes, without commissions, without lists of voters, with pre-printed and pre-filled ballots brought from home," Millo told reporters at a press-conference.

      The delegate of the Spanish government accused the regional Catalan government of putting pressure on the local police forces (the Mossos d'Esquadra) stressing that the local police put their political predilections above their professional duties of Catalan police officers, who should represent everyone and defend everyone, not just supporters of the referendum.

      "The Spanish national police and the Civil Guard will have to act. The Catalan police placed political criteria above professional ones. We are forced to do what we would prefer not doing," Millo added.

       

    • 11:20

      Spanish Police Detain Protesters Amid Scuffles at Barcelona Polling Station

      Warning: Graphic Content

      Spanish police detain several protesters amid scuffles near Barcelona polling station.

       

       

    • 11:04

      Civil Guard Cuts Internet at Polling Stations to Prevent Catalan Independence Vote - Reports

      According to the Europe Press media outlet, the Spanish Civil Guard is cutting Internet at some polling stations in Catalonia in order to foil the region's referendum on independence from Spain.

      Some schools, where the polling stations are located, have already been cut off the Internet, the Europe Press media outlet reported.

      The regional Catalan government has updated instructions for the residents urging them to bring mobile phones, chargers, batteries and extension cords and instructing people to call the technical support line in case of an incident with the voting application.

      According to social media, in some places, the voting has not started yet because of the internet problems. Local residents and media also report on police's attempts to seize the ballot boxes at the polling stations across the region.

    • 10:47

      Sputnik Correspondent at Polling Station

    • 10:42

      Catalan Police Close Over 15 Polling Stations Trying to Foil Independence Vote - Reports

      The Catalan police closed on Sunday more than 15 polling stations that were going to be used for Catalonia's referendum on the region's independence from Spain, local media reported.

      At one of the closed polling stations, police officers were surrounded by a group of people and had to call for reinforcements, the EFE news agency reported citing its sources in law enforcement bodies.

      According to the Vanguardia media outlet, a police helicopter is flying over Barcelona.

    • 10:37

      Spanish Police Break Glass to Enter Polling Center Where Catalan Leader to Vote

    • 10:35

      Spanish Police Seize Ballot Boxes in Catalan Referendum

      According to the Interior Ministry, Spanish national police began to seize ballot boxes and voting papers from Catalan polling stations as some voters began casting ballots.

      Riot police clashed with voters outside a Barcelona voting station, where dozens of police used riot shields to push people back, a witness said. 

      Half a dozen armored police vans and an ambulance stood ready nearby, the witness said.


    • 10:30

      Watch Catalan Referendum Via Sputnik Correspondent

    • 10:17

      Spanish Riot Police Deployed in Barcelona

      The El Pais newspaper reported Sunday that Spanish riot police had been deployed in Barcelona shortly before polling stations were opened in the Catalan independence referendum.

      The National Police were deployed after the Catalan regional police did not close polling stations in line with a court order.

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    Catalonia Referendum: Catalans Head to the Polls for Independence Vote
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