PARIS (Sputnik) — Hundreds of people, mainly representatives of the local Catalan diaspora and members of political and professional unions, have gathered in front of the Spanish Embassy in Paris to support the independence referendum in Catalonia and to protest against the actions of the Spanish police, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Tuesday.
The protesters waved flags of Catalonia and held banners supporting the region’s independence from Spain, as well as supporting the ongoing Catalan general strike and condemning Spanish authorities. The protesters also criticized the position of the French authorities.
On Sunday, Catalonia held the referendum on independence, which is considered illegal by the Spanish central government. Madrid did not recognize the legitimacy of the vote, sending police to Catalonia to shut down polling stations, which resulted in clashes with voters. The Catalan Health Department said that nearly 1,000 people sought medical help after the clashes. Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy said that in Catalonia there was "no referendum" on self-determination, but assured that the government was ready to conduct a dialogue within the regional authorities.
The French Foreign Ministry said Monday that Paris supported Spain's unity and integrity, adding that Paris was confident in Spain’s democratic ability to hold a peaceful political dialogue within constitutional law.