11:32 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Spanish Guardia Civil guards drag a man outside a polling station in Sant Julia de Ramis, where Catalan president was supposed to vote, on October 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid

    Catalan Ombudsman Urges Council of Europe to Respond to Violence at Referendum

    © AFP 2019 / Raymond ROIG
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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

    Catalan Ombudsman Rafael Ribo said the Council of Europe should respond to the violent actions of the Spanish police during the independence referendum.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Catalan Ombudsman Rafael Ribo said that he would complain to the Council of Europe in connection with the disproportional use of force by Spanish police during the Catalan independence referendum.

    "Today the escalation went too far. The Council of Europe should respond," Ribo told a press conference.

    The ombudsman added that he maintained contacts with Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, the Catalan local government, the Spanish parliament's lawmakers and the European politicians.

    "Tonight we will submit all the information that we are receiving at the moment. We are witnessing human rights violations in the Kingdom of Spain… The law enforcement forces disproportionately use violent actions against civilians," Ribo added.

    Catalan government's spokesman Jordi Turull called opolice actions at the region's independence referendum "an international embarrassment."

    "What the police is doing is truly an international embarrassment," Turull said at a press conference.

    "What they are doing is scandalous and outrageous and it is a thing to complain about on the international level. The Spanish government should be ashamed of itself. It is placing Spain in a very difficult situation because it is violating human rights, and the Spanish government should have to go and eventually justify what they are doing now to the international courts," he added.

    Meanwhile, Raul Romeva, the Catalan Generalitat secretary for the foreign relations, called on Europe to condemn the use of force by Spanish police against voters.

    "We call on the European institutions to condemn the violence, which the European citizens faced. We urge the European institutions to pay attention to human rights violations by the Spanish government," Romeva told a press conference.

    Earlier in the day, a number of polling stations opened across Catalonia. The Spanish government is considering the vote to be illegal and taking measures aimed at foiling the referendum. According to media reports, police resorted to rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, who attempted to prevent police from shutting down the polling stations. Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said that over 460 people were injured in Catalonia during the region's independence referendum.

    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)
    violence, Council of Europe, Catalonia, Spain
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