UN human rights chief urges probe into violence during referendum in Catalonia

  • UN human rights chief urges probe into violence during referendum in Catalonia

UN human rights chief urges probe into violence during referendum in Catalonia

European and world leaders are urging dialogue between Spain's government and authorities in Catalonia, saying Monday they are anxious about the potential for a further escalation of tensions after a violent crackdown by Spanish police during an independence referendum.

Pique has been vocal in his support of Catalonia's attempts to secede from Spain, prompting a backlash from those who fall on the other side of the argument.

The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was holding emergency talks after Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared Sunday that the region had won the right to break away from Spain.

Pique didn't make any comment as he joined up with the Spain squad on Monday, but continued to criticise the police's response via Twitter by posting links to videos of shocking police brutality. "Now they have to hear our voice".

What is incomprehensible about the Spanish government's handling of this crisis was that the vote had absolutely no legally binding authority.

The Catalan crisis has already caused broader problems for Rajoy's efforts to rule Spain as the head of a minority government that relies on support from regional parties to get legislation passed.

"They were beating people with flowers in their hands", he said. Meanwhile the Spanish interior ministry said 12 police officers had been hurt and three people arrested.

Catalans were being asked: "Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?" But such a move could again lead to a violent confrontation.

A general strike threatens to bring large areas of Catalonia to a standstill, following the Spanish region's disputed referendum.

The two major groups in the European Parliament, the Conservatives and the Socialists, have so far opposed putting the issue of Catalonia on the agenda.

The Catalonian government has asked the European Union to mediate the dispute between it and Madrid. "We do need mediation".

Late Monday, about 350 protesters blocked passage of several national police vehicles in downtown Barcelona, chanting at them to "go home!"

"FC Barcelona condemns the events which have taken place in many parts of Catalonia today in order to prevent its citizens exercising their democratic right to free expression". Although he had previously promised to "declare Catalan independence imminently", Puigdemont said on Sunday night that "the referendum results would be put before the regional parliament 'where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum, '" the Guardian reports.

"We proved we can mobilize for our country", Nicolau Jaume, a 45-year-old employee of Catalonia's justice department, told ABC News. "We believe in our government".

"The global community - especially the European Union - has an obligation to ensure that Catalonia can pursue the course of self-determination without fear". But that has not hampered their spirit.

After Sunday's game, an emotional Gerard Pique said there were "pros and cons" for playing, and amid the uncertainty said it was possible that he could quit playing for Spain before next summer's World Cup.