European Union executive calls for Spanish-Catalan talks after referendum violence

Thursday, 05 Oct, 2017

Many European leaders have been notable for their lack of criticism of Spain's heavy-handed tactics in trying to stop the vote, not wanting to be seen to interfere in another country's affairs.

Several thousand people have gathered in Barcelona in protest against an alleged excessive use of force by Spanish police during Catalonia's referendum on independence this weekend.

Catalan regional Vice-President, Oriol Junqueras, left, and Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, attend during a protest called by pro-independence outside of the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017.

Some have criticized the European Union for "double-standards", saying its talk of upholding democratic values appeared hollow given its opposition to the public vote on independence.

On Tuesday, Rafael Hernando, the parliamentary spokesman for Mr. Rajoy's governing Popular Party, said the Catalan strike was "clearly political, with Nazi" connotations in terms of indoctrinating Catalans into following a separatist ideology.

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Spain's national traffic agency, Dirección General de Tráfico, said any potential order to clear highways from protesters would have to come from the Mossos D'Esquadra, the local Catalan police.

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Just the opposite. Spanish authorities generally commended the police.

Spain's King Felipe VI made a rare televised address to the country, criticizing the Catalan government after the region held an independence referendum on Sunday.

Authorities say 844 people and 33 police were injured Sunday in Spanish police raids to halt the independence vote organized by the Catalan autonomous government that was declared ilegal by Spain's constitutional court.

Spain's Interior Ministry said more than 400 National Police and Civil Guard officers also suffered injuries during the clashes.

"They have broken the democratic principles of the rule of law".

"What I find harder to understand is this indifference, or absolute lack of interest, in understanding what is happening here", he said.

On Sunday, Catalonia held the referendum on independence, which is considered illegal by the Spanish central government.