03:56 GMT03 March 2021
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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

    The actions by police during the Catalan referendum that was deemed illegal by the Spanish authorities have been strongly criticized.

    "I think by now many of those pictures have been proven to be fake pictures… I am not saying that all are fake pictures, but some of them are. You know, there have been a lot of alternative facts and fake news here. And, as I said, if there was at all… some use of force, it was not a deliberate use of force. It was a provoked use of force," Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said in an interview to the BBC One TV channel.

    According to media reports, police resorted to rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who attempted to prevent police from shutting down the polling stations, during the independence referendum deemed illegal by Madrid.

    The actions of the Spanish police during the referendum have triggered criticism across Europe and prompted a reaction from human rights watchdogs. Days after the vote, Enric Millo, the Spanish government's official representative in Catalonia, apologized for police violence.

    The statement of the minister comes amid a report issued by the Catalan government's press service, claiming that over 1,100 people were injured in Catalonia during the region's independence referendum and in the following days, including 431 law enforcement officers.

    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)


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    police, independence referendum, Alfonso Dastis, Catalonia, Spain
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