MADRID: A top Spanish government official in Catalonia has expressed regret about those injured when police cracked down on people taking part in a banned referendum on the region’s independence Oct. 1.
Interior Ministry delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo tempered the comments Friday by saying the Catalan government was responsible for the situation by encouraging people to vote despite a Constitutional Court order suspending the referendum.
Millo’s remarks on Catalonia’s TV3 television station were the first by a Spanish official lamenting the injuries.
Spain defended the police action saying it was firm and proportionate.
Millo told reporters that on knowing there were people injured, “I can only say sorry.” He said the events made him very sad.
He said only one person out of four people hospitalized remained in care. Some 900 people were treated.
Spain’s anti-riot squads fired rubber bullets, smashed into polling stations and beat protesters with batons to disperse voters on the day.
The head of Catalonia’s National Assembly has called for dialogue and a political solution to the crisis in Spain over a disputed independence referendum.