Spain apologises to injured Catalan protesters _98174319_mediaitem98174315

The Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia has apologised to those injured during police efforts to stop Sunday’s independence referendum, BBC report.

But Enric Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote.

Meanwhile the government in Madrid has issued a decree making it easier for companies to move their headquarters away from Catalonia.

A Catalan minister told the BBC his government would go ahead with an independence debate in parliament.

“Parliament will discuss, parliament will meet,” said Catalan foreign affairs chief Raül Romeva. “Every attempt the Spanish government has used to impede things to happen, they have been demonstrated completely not only useless but counter-productive,” he told the BBC in English.

In the first apology by a Spanish government official over the violence on Sunday, which saw hundreds injured as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters, Mr Millo said he could not help but “regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened”.

Friday has seen a number of political, business and judicial developments in the unfolding crisis in Catalonia.

The political developments

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont now plans to address the Catalan parliament on Tuesday at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the speaker of the parliament says.

Spain’s Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

There is speculation that the parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting, based on last Sunday’s disputed vote.

The final results from the outlawed poll show 90% of the 2.3m people who voted backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

There have been several claims of irregularities, and many ballot boxes were seized by the Spanish police.

After a cabinet meeting, the Spanish government spokesman also expressed regret that people had “suffered consequences” during Sunday’s vote – though he cast doubt on the numbers who had been injured.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo suggested that new elections in Catalonia might be a way to heal the fracture caused by the disputed referendum.