The Spanish government has issued its first public apology for the excessive force used by the National Police and Civil Guard against Catalan citizens who tried to vote in Catalonia’s independence referendum last Sunday.
Enric Millo, the Spanish government's representative in Catalonia said, "When I see these images [of people being] hit, pushed and even one person who was hospitalized, I can't help but regret it and apologize on behalf of the officers that intervened."
But Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal poll.
Results from the Sunday’s vote show that, despite political repression, including confiscating millions of blank ballots and 100 ballot boxes and police violence against voters, 2.3 million citizens, or 43 percent of the Catalan population, cast their ballots.
Of them, 90.18 percent favored a breakaway from Spain.
The Catalan Premiere and pro-independence leader, Carles Puigdemont, had planned to hold a special Parliament session on Monday with lawmakers to declare the region's independence.
But the plan was halted by the Constitutional Court.
Puigdemont has now rescheduled the declaration for next Tuesday at 6pm, local time.
The Spanish government answered back creating a decree making it easier for companies to move their headquarters from Catalonia to other parts of the country.
This prompted Spanish CaixaBank, Banco Sabadell, Service Point and Dogi, among other businesses, to announce they will relocate.
One of the few Catalan public figures to speak out against the region’s independence, the former President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, said there are “still some things” that the Catalonia government lacks in order to make its "independence...real."
Mas stepped down in January 2016 following pressure from independence parties in the parliament.
In an interview with the Financial Times, he questioned whether the region is ready to secede.
Tensions between Catalonia and the Spanish central government are at an all time high.
Nationwide rallies against the region's secession are due to take place on Saturday.
Marchers are planning to take to the streets in the capital Madrid as well as in Barcelona.