Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has criticised the Spanish government over reports of police brutality during Sunday’s independence vote in Catalonia.
Voting in the referendum was disrupted by riot police as the Spanish government ordered its Guardia Civil to shut down polling stations.
Footage on social media appeared to show riot police attack potential voters with truncheons and rubber bullets. At one point, Catalan firefighters even tried to protect voters.
Guardiola, a former FC Barcelona player and manager, told Catalunya Radio and RAC1 that the country’s media is distorting the narrative.
“Spain will try to cover up the reality, but the rest of the world’s media will show it,” he said. “I read in El Pais that they were saying it was the police officers who were injured. Injured by what? By votes?
“It has been the opposite as they have injured people with rubber bullets, which are illegal in Catalonia. They broke one woman’s fingers. There are some images from today that are irrefutable.
“The prime minister must answer the questions, as he remains the prime minister of all Spaniards.”
Guardiola stressed that Catalans do not want the rest of the country to think they do not like Spain, or the Spanish.
“Spain is an incredible country, with its literature, sport and cities. But there is a need to understand that there is a population which wishes to decide its own future.”
Catalan officials said the turnout for the referendum was 43.3% (2.2 million people), according to the BBC. Approximately 90% of those who voted backed independence.