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Political Violence Erupts in Spain as Catalonia Votes for Independence

The Spanish government has deployed police in an effort to stop the “illegal” referendum.

Spanish police and protesters clashed in the streets of Catalonia, a province in northeastern Spain, on Sunday as the regional government went ahead with an independence referendum deemed “illegal” by Spain’s highest court.

According to the UK newspaper The Telegraph, the Catalan government claimed victory in the referendum with 90 percent of voters supporting secession:

On a day marred by clashes between police and voters, 2.26 million people took part in the referendum, regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said. That represents a turnout of 42.3 percent of Catalonia’s 5.34 million voters.

Of those who took part, 2.02 million Catalans voted “yes” to the question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

Spanish government forces tried to crack down on the “illegal” referendum, but Catalans occupied the voting places to protect them throughout the election. Over 800 people were injured as protesters and police clashed over the continuation of the referendum.

The European Union has continued to back the Spanish government’s rulings and attempts to stop the referendum, according to The Telegraph.