Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Sunday said there was no ballot for referendum in the country’s north-eastern region of Catalonia.
In a televised addressed, Mr. Rajoy declared attempts by Catalonia residents to vote in the referendum as illegal, saying they were fooled into thinking there was a formal call for referendum.
“Today, we have not had a referendum for self-determination in Catalonia,” Mr. Rajoy said in the address.
The BBC reported that no fewer than 761 people were injured after police brutalised voters across the region.
Videos showing anti-riot officers hitting and tossing residents surfaced on the Internet Sunday.
The violence has been condemned across the world.
Jeremy Corbin, Britain’s opposition leader, urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to condemn the violence and demand restraint from Mr. Rajoy.
“I urge @Theresa_May to appeal directly to Rajoy to end police violence in Catalonia & find political solution to this constitutional crisis,” Mr. Corbin said on Twitter Sunday.
Mr. Rajoy thanked the Spanish police for enforcing the rule of law, while promising serious consequences for Catalonia politicians behind Sunday’s secession moves.
Catalonia, a wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain, has its own language and culture, the BBC reported.
It also has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognised as a separate nation under the Spanish Constitution.
Pressure for a vote on self-determination has grown over the past five years.
But Spanish unionists argue Catalonia already enjoys broad autonomy within Spain, along with other regions like the Basque Country and Galicia.