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Catalonia secession referendum marred by violence

Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations in Catalonia on Sunday as thousands flooded the streets to vote in an independence referendum banned by Madrid.

At least 91 people were injured in clashes, emergency services said, as police cracked down down on what the Spanish central government has branded a “farce”.

Footage captured in the village of Sarria de Ter in the province of Girona, where Kenya international footballer Micheal Olunga plies his trade, showed authorities using an axe to smash down the doors of a polling station where Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont was due to cast his vote.

In Barcelona, the region’s capital, several international media outlets reported that officers fired rubber bullets at thousands of protesters demonstrating against the votes being taken away.

The referendum poses the question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

But it has been ruled unconstitutional by the central government and the courts, with judicial officials ordering police to seize ballot papers, detain key organisers and shut down websites promoting the vote.

Thousands of Spanish police fanned out across the region on Sunday, forcing their way into polling stations.

The plans to separate from the rest of Spain have been spurred by the feeling that Catalonia, which contributes 19 percent of the Spanish GDP, to the central government, receives far less of the national cake.

Incidentally, there have been secession talks discussed in muted tones by sections of Kenyans amid in the awake of the annulment of the presidential election by the Supreme Court.