Spanish police have stormed polling stations in Catalonia as voting began this morning in an independence referendum.
Riot police have seized ballot papers and boxes and physically restrained people trying to vote.
The referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish government, which has over recent months sought to do everythign in its power to prevent it from being held. The government is believed to have deployed 25,000 police officers in view of disrupting the poll.
Thousands of Catalans slept overnight in the polling stations in order to ensure they would not be prevented from voting.
The Catalan regional government is confident of a high turn out despite attempts to prevent the poll.