It is the first apology by a Madrid government official in Catalonia over the clashes and could be seen as a conciliatory gesture to Catalan leaders who plan a unilateral declaration of independence of the region from Spain.

Firemen hold the people in front of Spanish Guardia Civil officers outside a polling station in San Julia de Ramis, on October 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid. (AFP)
Firemen hold the people in front of Spanish Guardia Civil officers outside a polling station in San Julia de Ramis, on October 1, 2017, on the day of a referendum on independence for Catalonia banned by Madrid. (AFP) (AFP)

The Spanish government’s official representative in Catalonia apologised on Friday for the violent response by Spanish police to protesters who were attempting to vote in a banned independence referendum in the region on Sunday.      

“When I see these images, and more so when I know people have been hit, pushed and even one person who hospitalised, I can’t help but regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened,” Enric Millo said in a television interview.

It was the first apology by a Madrid government official over the clashes and could be seen as a conciliatory gesture to Catalan leaders who plan a unilateral declaration of independence of the region from Spain.

The police action, which according to Catalan health authorities left around 900 injured, has been widely condemned by human rights groups as excessive force on a civilian population. 

TRT World's Francis Collings reports from Barcelona.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies