POLLING stations have opened in Cataluña’s outlawed independence referendum.
The ballot has been banned by the Spanish government and constitutional court, but many voting stations opened at 9am as planned.
And the first scuffles have already broken out, after riot police used a hammer to break into and seize ballot boxes from a sports centre in Sant Julia de Ramis, near Girona (see video below), where Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was due to cast his vote.
Onlookers chanted and waved ballot papers while helmeted officers were forced to push some people back.
It comes as Catalan officials announced that voters should use any open polling station if their designated one was shut, after Catalan police yesterday stormed 1,300 schools.