An emotional Gerard Pique offered his resignation from the Spain national team following a day in which the Catalunya region was engulfed by violence between referendum voters and police. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were hospitalized.
In the former textile town of Sabadell, the fifth-largest city in Catalonia, Francesc Condina hid the ballot boxes for three weeks in a dusky wine cellar in the heart of the city.
The violence has drawn some condemnation from other European states, with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel saying "violence can never be the answer!". "The national police and civil guard are treating us like criminals". Spanish officials had said force wouldn't be used, but that voting wouldn't be allowed.
Pique, who was also critical of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, continued: "After what has transpired it has been my worst experience as a professional".
Barcelona's LaLiga fixture with Las Palmas at Camp Nou on Sunday will be played behind closed doors after attempts to have the match postponed failed.
"Regardless of views on independence, we should all condemn the scenes being witnessed and call on Spain to change course before someone is seriously hurt", Scotland's pro-independence leader, Nicola Sturgeon, said on Twitter.
Those tensions have now reached boiling point as thousands of Catalonians who came out to vote this morning were sprayed with rubber bullets, leaving 37 injured.
People had occupied some stations with the aim of preventing police from locking them down.
"I propose that all political parties with parliamentary representation meet and, together, reflect on the future we all face", Rajoy said in his televised address. I thought they would try to stop the vote in a peaceful way.
Barcelona's mayor said at least 460 people were injured as police cracked down on what the Spanish central government branded a "farce".
One native Catalan, Albert Marti, told ABC News he returned to Barcelona from Munich to participate in the vote. Earlier Sunday, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull said that voting was underway in 96 percent of the voting centers.
The regional government spokesperson said that the region had a total of 5.3 million registered voters and the number of ballots did not include the ones confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids which were aimed to stop the polling.