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At least 92 injured in Catalonia vote clashes: regional govt

Oct 01. 2017
Officers of National Police clash with people outside a polling center set at Tarragona Secondary School in Tarragona, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 01 October 2017. /EPA-EFE
Officers of National Police clash with people outside a polling center set at Tarragona Secondary School in Tarragona, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 01 October 2017. /EPA-EFE
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By Agence France-Presse

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BARCELONA - At least 92 people were injured in Catalonia on Sunday as police and protesters clashed over a banned independence referendum in the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, the Catalan government said.

A total of 465 people were attended to at hospitals and health centres, a spokeswoman for the Catalan government's health department said. So far 92 have been confirmed as injured, two of them seriously.

One of those seriously injured has an eye injury while the other suffered a heart attack during a police operation in Lerida, about 150 kilometres (95 miles) west of Barcelona.

Spain's interior ministry said 12 police officers had been injured in the clashes.

Hundreds of people had gathered before dawn at the polling stations set up in schools and other public buildings for the referendum which Spain's central government and the court have ruled is unconstitutional.

Their goal was to protect the polling stations peacefully by preventing police from entering and seizing ballot boxes and voting papers.

But police forced their way into many polling stations, especially in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, and Girona, the fiefdom of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, a lifelong advocate of independence.

In some cases police fired rubber bullets or charged demonstrators who offered resistance, witnesses told AFP.

Videos posted on social media sites show police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, throwing people down stairs and attacking Catalan firefighters who were protecting polling stations.

In one video protesters with their hands in the air can be seen surrounding a group of riot police chanting "Murderers! Murderers!".

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