Madrid responds with riot police raids to Catalan referendum
Spanish riot police stormed into polling stations across Catalonia on Sunday, October, 1, confiscating ballot boxes and voting papers in an attempt to prevent a banned referendum on an independence from Madrid.
Police broke down doors to force entry into voting stations the votes shouted ‘Out with the occupying forces!” and sang the anthem of Catalonia in a peaceful protest. However reportedly in one incident in Barcelona, police fired rubber bullets.
Officers in riot gear forcibly removed people from a polling station in Girona and Catalan firefighters protected voters by standing between them and national police.
The referendum, declared illegal by central government of Spain, opened a down spiral to a profound constitutional crisis, and evoked a centuries-old rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona.
Despite the police action, hundreds-strong queues of people formed in cities and villages throughout the region to cast their votes. At one Barcelona polling station, elderly people and those with children entered first.