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Hundreds injured as Catalonia votes for independence

Independence supporters gather in Barcelona's main square. Image: Santi Palacios/AP

According to Catalan officials, 90 percent of those that voted Sunday in an independence referendum Sunday in the Spanish region of Catalan with a turnout of 42.3 percent.

“With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form [of] a republic,” Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont said. “My government, in the next few days, will send the results to today’s vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.”

Catalonia is a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in northeastern Spain. It’s highly autonomous but isn’t recognized as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution.

Catalan emergency officials have said that 844 people were injured after police used force in an attempt to block voting during the referendum.

Spanish police officers prevented some people from voting in a poll that PM Mariano Rajoy called illegal, seizing ballot boxes and papers at polling stations.

Spain Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police “acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way.”

Over 40 trade unions and Catalan associations called a region-wide strike on Tuesday because of the “grave violation of rights and freedoms.”

Batons and rubber bullets were used by Spanish police during pro-referendum protests in Barcelona, the region’s capital.

According to the Spanish interior ministry, 12 police officers were hurt with three arrests made. 92 polling stations were closed.

FC Barcelona played its match against Las Palmas at Camp Nou today under closed doors, after Barcelona said the football league refused to suspend the match.

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