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Hundreds Injured as Spanish Police Try to Block Catalan Referendum

Armed police descended on polling stations in Catalonia as voters attempted to take part in a banned referendum on independence from Madrid.

A man waves an 'Estelada' (Pro-independence Catalan flag) from a balcony after the closing of the 'Espai Jove La Fontana' (La Fontana youth center) polling station, on Oct. 1, 2017 in Barcelona.

Spanish riot police stormed voting stations today as they moved to stop Catalonia's independence referendum, supported by Catalan regional authorities, after it was banned by the central government in Madrid. More than 760 people were confirmed injured as thousands tried to prevent the polling stations from being closed. Spanish officials had previously said force would not be used, but that voting would not be allowed.

Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images

People celebrate after the closing of polling stations outside of the 'Espai Jove La Fontana' (La Fontana youth center). More than 5.3 million Catalans were expected to vote.

Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images

An election official carries an empty ballot box out of a polling station in Barcelona.

After voting ended Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy said that there had been no referendum because “the great majority of Catalans have decided not to participate.”

"They have sided with our democracy and the rule of law," Rajoy said in a news conference, adding: “Some have tried to break the rule of law, and we have answered with serenity and sanity.”

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Anti-independence demonstrators march through downtown Barcelona waving Spanish flags against the referendum. Emilio Morenatti / AP
A man reacts after voting. Santi Palacios / AP
Women hold ballots at a polling station in Barcelona. Jose Jordan / AFP - Getty Images

Plain clothes police officers try to snatch a ballot box from polling station officials at the Ramon Llull university assigned to be a polling station by the Catalan government in Barcelona.

Manu Brabo / AP
A Catalan man reacts after voting in the '1-O Referendum' at the Escola Jaume I school, in Barcelona. Toni Albir / EPA
Civil Guard officers break through a door at a polling station where Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was supposed to vote in Sant Julia de Ramis. Juan Medina / Reuters
Police officers immobilize two people outside a polling station in Barcelona. Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images
Spanish police seize ballot boxes in a polling station in Barcelona. Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images

A protester is attended to after being hit by a rubber bullet shot by Spanish National Police near the Ramon Llull university.

Manu Brabo / AP
People hold up four fingers representing the four stripes of the Catalan flag while they wait to cast their referendum votes outside the Escola Industrial of Barcelona. Chris McGrath / Getty Images
Civil Guard officers stand inside a polling station for the banned independence referendum where Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was supposed to vote in Sant Julia de Ramis. Juan Medina / Reuters
People wait outside a polling center in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona. Bob Edme / AP
A protester shouts as he holds a Catalan flag during a far-right demonstration. Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images

Catalans and police clash outside Ramon Llull university.

Alberto Estevez / EPA
A hand is seen through a giant Estelada in the University of Barcelona's historic building. Enrique Calvo / Reuters
Police try to remove pro-referendum supporters sitting down on a street in Barcelona. Manu Fernandez / AP
Spanish Guardia Civil guards drag a man outside a polling station in Sant Julia de Ramis. Raymond Roig / AFP - Getty Images
Officers clash with people outside a polling center at Tarragona Secondary School in Tarragona, Catalonia. Jaume Sellart / EPA
An elderly woman is applauded as she celebrates after voting in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona. Bob Edme / AP
Women and Spanish Guardia Civil guards clash outside a polling station in Sarria de Ter. Lluis Gene / AFP - Getty Images
Spanish police use shields to push people away outside of a Barcelona polling station. Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images
Protesters perform a fascist salute during a demonstration called by far-right groups against the referendum. Pau Barrena / AFP - Getty Images

A police officer pushes a woman away outside the Ramon Llull university.

Emilio Morenatti / AP
Spanish National Police prevent people from entering a voting site. Emilio Morenatti / AP
Catalans queue to vote at the Moises Broggi secondary school in Barcelona. Santi Donaire / EPA