Catalan Referendum

Catalonia's Vote for Independence Ended in Riots

At least 844 people and 33 police were injured in the violence sparked by the Catalan independence referendum yesterday.
October 2, 2017, 9:17am
Un homme blessé après une attaque de la police.

This article originally appeared on VICE Spain.

On Sunday, October 1, an estimated 2.26 million Catalans voted in the region's independence referendum. Although the Spanish government in Madrid stated the referendum was unconstitutional and a Spanish court agreed with that claim, the Catalan government didn't back down, and voters still lined up at polling stations—some as early as 5 AM, four hours before the polls opened.


At a few polling stations, Spanish police actively tried to stop votes from being cast—by raiding and sealing some, and by using violence at others; you might have seen the footage of riot police using batons on protesters, and drop-kicking and dragging voters by their hair. So far, 844 people and 33 police officers have been treated for their injuries.

According to voting officials, 90 percent of the 2.26 million votes were cast in favor of Catalan independence, while 770,000 ballots are said to have been lost in police raids.

Barcelona-based photographer Mònica Figueras walked around her city all day on Sunday, documenting what she saw.

Catalan voters and riot police face off outside a polling station in Barcelona.

9 AM: Police arrive at a polling station at a school in Barcelona.

Protesters sing "Els Segadors," the official Catalan national anthem.

Riot police firing rubber bullets at protesters

A woman crying after witnessing police charges

A girl from Basque Country—another autonomous region in Spain—supporting the Catalan referendum.

A rubber ball police fired at protesters

11 AM: A line outside the polling station in the Fort Pienc library

These three girls spent the night in a polling station to prevent it from being shut down.

Another line for a polling station

Separatist banners on a balcony

1:30 PM: A volunteer explaining to a crowd of voters that the computer voting system has been shut down

A couple waiting in line outside a polling station

Voters waiting in the rain

"Franco is on the loose."

6 PM: Inside one of the polling stations