UPDATE: Chaos, violent clashes after Catalans go to the polls in vote that could split Spain
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
Early results show 90% support for independence in contested referendum
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- Battle lines were being drawn on Sunday in Spain, as chaotic scenes emerged with hundreds reported injured after a banned independence vote in a wealthy northeastern region of the country whose heart is the city of Barcelona.
Some in Catalonia, or Catalunya in the Catalan language, had spent Saturday night at one of the more than 2,000 schools that had been set up as polling stations in the region. But by early Sunday, it was clear that the Spanish government was as determined to stop the voting as those voters were to follow through with the referendum. Clashes persisted throughout the day.
Late Sunday, Catalan officials said preliminary results showed 90% of voters approved independence.
Read: Catalonia leader: With 90% approval, 'we have the right' to be independent (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/catalonia-leader-with-90-approval-we-have-the-right-to-be-independent-2017-10-01)
In recent days the government has sent in thousands of extra police, seized ballot boxes, arrested officials and shut down relevant websites.
The defiant Catalan government on Sunday attempted to facilitate voting by allowing a ballot to be cast at any available polling station, using even blank pieces of paper instead of preprinted ballots. The regional government has said it will declare independence if a "yes" majority emerges from the 5.4 million eligible voters. About 2.3 million people cast ballots, the Catalan government said late Sunday, about a 42% turnout.