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

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”.

Monitors in the region have responded with outrage over the police brutality and many world leaders from other parts of the world have condemned the actions.

 

Meanwhile, in LGBT resorts along the Catalan seafronts, peaceful voting is underway.

Sitges, Spain (photo by Colin Fallesen)

Reports from Colin Fallesen the CEO of Pinksixty was that if police violence erupted then Voters and expats were to make their way home and stay safe.

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.

The latest reports are putting the turnout so far at over 50% and rising.