Since pronouncing the Catalan referendum illegal, the central government deployed police to ensure voting would not take place on 1st October. Schools, to be used as polling stations, were occupied from Friday night after the Catalan closing rally in order to prevent sealing of the premises thus rendering voting activity impossible. At 6am on Sunday,national police started to arrive at polling stations with the aim of preventing the referendum from taking place. Artur Mas, ex leader of the Catalan government and initiator of the Referendum Project opened the voting. There were clashes at several locations throughout Catalunya when police forcibly attempted to remove ballot boxes from polling stations. Pro-Spain Francoist supporters rallied in the centre of Barcelona and although the situation was generally controlled, there were outbreaks of violence.