(Vatican Radio) Spain’s representative in Catalonia on Friday apologised to those injured in a police crackdown on voters in the region’s independence referendum.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has offered all-party talks to find a solution to the crisis, but he has ruled out independence and rejected proposals for international mediation.
At the end of a momentous week in Catalonia, correspondent Giulia Cirillo reports that there are few signs of a breakthrough in the political standoff between Catalan authorities and the Spanish government.
While voters await the final results of Sunday’s referendum, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has said a unilateral declaration of independence is still on the table.
Police chief questioned
In the fallout from a chaotic referendum, the chief of Catalonia’s regional police was questioned in court on Friday on suspicion of sedition against the state. His Mossos d’Esquadra stand accused of failing to support national security forces in their attempts to prevent the poll from going ahead.
With over 850 people injured in the crackdown, and no acknowledgement of the violence from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, many Catalonians feel this accusation is simply the latest outrage perpetrated by a repressive government.
Economy could suffer
Meanwhile, it seems the Catalan economy may be starting to suffer in this climate of uncertainty. On Tuesday, the region ground to a halt as thousands of businesses closed their doors in a massive protest against police brutality. Since then, a major Barcelona-based bank has said it will move its headquarters out of Catalonia, as have companies in other sectors.
Earlier this week, President Puigdemont said he was not seeking a traumatic split from Spain, and appealed for mediation. But with both sides firmly locked into hard-line positions, it is impossible to predict what will happen next week. With Spanish police still heavily deployed across the region, it must be hoped that violence will be avoided at all cost.