Catalans say hundreds injured as chaotic independence poll unfolds

Catalans say hundreds injured as chaotic independence poll unfolds

Catalan officials say at least 337 people have been injured in clashes as police try to prevent voting in Catalonia's independence referendum, BBC reports.

The Spanish government has pledged to stop a poll that was declared illegal by the country's constitutional court.

Police officers are preventing people from voting, and seizing ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.

In the regional capital Barcelona, police used batons and fired rubber bullets during pro-referendum protests.

The latest injury toll was confirmed by a spokesman for the Catalan regional government, as well as the region's health department.

Separately, the Spanish interior ministry said 11 police officers had been hurt.

At a press conference, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said police had "acted with professionalism and in a proportionate way".

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont condemned the action of the national police and Guardia Civil, who were sent into Catalonia in large numbers to prevent the vote from taking place.

"The unjustified use of violence... by the Spanish state will not stop the will of the Catalan people," he told reporters.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido blamed Puigdemont for what he termed the day's senseless events.