CATALUNYA’S independence referendum has begun in earnest this morning, despite Spanish national police brutality and technical issues.
Catalans occupied polling stations and the space outside of the centres throughout the night in order to stop police forces from shutting them down.
The independence movement in Catalunya has thus far been entirely peaceful, with secessionists and the Mossos – the Catalan police – engaging in reasonable dialogue through the night.
While attending the vote at the Josep Maria Jujol this morning, two members of Mossos attempted to enter the school.
A huge crowd gathered – hundreds of people – all with their hands raise to indicate they were all responsible for the vote and the Mossos turned around and left, respecting the peaceful demands of the electorate who in turn did not harm the police.
However, the same cannot be said for the Spanish National Police or for other polling stations.
In the town of Girona, riot police smashed their way into a polling station which was rumoured to be where Carles Puigdemont, President of Catalunya was set to vote.
Footage filmed on mobile phones showed police using force to remove those attempting to vote.
Baton attacks on harmonious voters have also taken place at the Jaume Balmes de Barcelona school, the Nostra Llar School in Sabadell and the Escola Verd de Girona.
Rubber bullets, which are illegal to use in the state of Catalunya have also been fired by the National police to disperse voters across Barcelona.
Voting was set to commence at 9am this morning, but in many centres this was delayed and in some, voting still has been unable to get underway.
Cyber attacks launched by the Spanish authorities from the occupied Centro de Telecomunicaciones y Tecnologias de la Información in Barcelona have been able to successfully disable the electronic voting systems.
However, technical experts were able to restore the operating system in several polling stations and word has quickly spread via WhatsApp how to overcome the attacks.
The National Police were also been successful in seizing some further ballot boxes this morning.
In Josep Maria Jujol school, after the visit of the Mossos and having battled and overcome technical issues by 10am, voting began.
First in were the elderly and the sick, many of whom had been carried down to vote such was the determination to have their say.
Angeles, 87, was one of the first in. As she left the polling booth the crowd of thousands united in applause with several people supporting her to a nearby chair and providing a much needed drink of orange juice.
“I’ve been waiting all my life for this,” she said.
“It is true I can barely walk but let them try and stop me.”