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Spanish government representative apologizes for referendum violence

Carles Puigdemont and Generalitat also to blame for provoking situation, according to Spanish delegate in Catalonia

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06 October 2017 02:15 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Madrid’s representative in Catalonia, Enric Millo, has apologized for the police violence that took place on October 1’s referendum, breaking the Spanish government’s silence on the matter.

“When I see these images, and more so when I know people have been hit, pushed, and even one person hospitalized, I can’t help but regret it and apologize on behalf of the officers that intervened,” Milo said in a television interview on Friday.

He also pointed out that the Catalan government was responsible for having “provoked” the situation. The Spanish government representative accused Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and the Catalan government of encouraging citizens to vote when they knew a court order was in place to prevent the referendum.

"It would not have happened if everyone had fulfilled their obligation. Who is responsible? Those who encourage people to go to a place when they know that it is illegal,” he argued, stating that a judge’s order was in place to halt the referendum.

He noted that the Mossos would have to act if Monday’s proposed parliamentary session takes place regardless of the Constitutional Court’s ban. He criticized their behaviour on Sunday for not following orders to close polling stations and for putting “political agenda before professional criterion.”

  • "If they consider that their physical integrity is in danger, they must use force"

    Enric Millo · Spanish delegate in Catalonia

According to Millo, the aim of the Spanish police and the Guardia Civil "was not to go against people." He pointed out that of the 2,230 operational polling stations, there were only incidents at 30.

In 13 of the polling stations, he went on to say that Spanish police had followed a “professional criteria,” explaining that agents encountered human barriers preventing them from seizing referendum material, or crowds gathering in order to prevent police from leaving the polling stations.

If they consider that their physical integrity is in danger, they must use force,” he said in justification of police charging at citizens.

In spite of this, he described images of Sunday’s referendum violence as “terrible,” explaining he was not trying to detract from the reality of the situation.

"I am deeply sorry about what happened, it should not have happened and I am very busy with those who have caused it," said Millo, addressing the Catalan government.

The Spanish representative also called on Catalan authorities to “stop instigating hatred against professional people,” speaking about the protests in front of hotels where Spanish police are staying. 

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  • Spanish delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo, Spain's interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, and Spanish police at Barcelona port (by ACN)