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Governments exchange criticism after week’s protests leave 579 injured

The Catalan and Spanish governments are caught in a battle of words, after the week’s protests across Catalonia left 579 injured.

The Catalan government has called on Madrid to realise ‘once and for all’ that ‘political negotiation and dialogue’ is needed to resolve the conflict that has erupted in Catalonia following the sentencing of nine independence leaders to up to 13 years in prison.

Catalan president Quim Torra has attempted to call Spain’s acting president Pedro Sánchez multiple times on Sunday to discuss the matter, but has been unable to speak to Sánchez.

ALSO READ: Torra calls for ‘immediate meeting’ with Sánchez to engage in dialogue

The Spanish government, meanwhile, has insisted that in order to discuss this week’s tense events, Torra must unequivocally condemn the violence that has taken place throughout Catalonia this week leaving 579 injured and 14 hospitalized.

The Catalan government has criticised the Spanish government for its ‘inaction” and its ‘failure to perform its functions’.

ALSO READ: Catalan president finally condemns violence after third night of turmoil

Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, also insisted that Torra had to express sympathy for the injured police officers, while Catalonia’s health minister Alba Vergés claimed that Marlaska himself was ‘only being concerned about some of those who have been injured, the police officers.’

Marlaska went on to say that ‘nobody’ in Catalonia, Spain, or abroad can understand why Torra has ‘still’ not condemned this week’s violence, and although a few days ago Torra did claim that “violence does not represent us” in reference to the independence movement, the Spanish government has asked for a stronger denunciation.

ALSO READ: Police in spotlight as 58 journalists injured during week

Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Spanish Interior Minister. (Roger Pi de Cabanyes / ACN)

Spain’s interior minister has also described the unrest in Catalonia as ‘strictly a public order problem’ and not a political problem. According to him, there have been 288 injured police officers, 194 arrests, and 18 already sent to prison.

According to Catalan health minister Alba Vergés, however, 4 people have been blinded in one eye and emergency services have treated 579 people throughout Catalonia who were injured in the week’s unrest.

ALSO READ: Sixth night of protests calmer, as Barcelona counts cost

The Catalan government claims 14 people have been hospitalised due to the injuries they have sustained during the protests, including a police officer who remains in a critical condition at Barcelona’s Hospital de Sant Pau.

A woman who was in critical condition at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital with a traumatic brain injury has improved, but her condition is still considered to be serious.

As for the 4 people who have been blinded in one eye this week, Vergés affirmed that it was ‘medically impossible to prove’ that these were the result of rubber or foam bullets fired by police officers, but did say that ‘it is clear what has been happening these days’ and lamented their use as the Catalan Parliament had already prohibited them.

ALSO READ: Spain now investigates ‘Tsunami Democràtic’ for terrorism

‘I don’t think we should be using them again, we want 21st-century police,’ the minister commented.

According to her, Saturday night was much more peaceful than previous nights as there were only 14 people injured, rather than the 100 or so who have been hurt every other night prior since the unrest began.

Lastly, the Catalan minister defended the right to protest, and defended that people should be able to do so ‘safely’.

Click here for all articles and updates on the Catalan Trial

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