BARCELONA: Catalonia's government spokesman says that the disputed independence referendum is underway in about 73 percent of the around 6,000 polling stations despite a police crackdown to try to halt the vote and technological obstacles.
Jordi Turull called for Catalans to remain calm and patient but to defend "in a civic and peaceful manner" their right to vote after riot police blocked voting in some polling centers and confiscated ballot boxes amid clashes with protesting voters. Police have also fired rubber projectiles at protesters in Barcelona.
Turull said that "the world has seen the violence of the Spanish state," calling actions by the police as "repression that is a reminder of the Franco era" in reference to Spain's dictatorship from 1939-1975.
Turull said the Spanish government's representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo, should resign over the handling of the crackdown.