Spain's foreign minister says the violence seen Sunday as police tried to prevent people from voting in Catalonia in a banned independence referendum was "unfortunate" and "unpleasant" but "proportionate."
In an interview with The Associate Press, Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis blamed the violence exclusively on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his regional government.
Dastis says "if people insist in disregarding the law and doing something that has been consistently declared illegal and unconstitutional, law enforcement officers need to uphold the law."
Officials say at least 465 people and 11 police were injured Sunday. Videos showed police roughing up voters, who tried to shield themselves from blows.
Dastis says, however, "it was a proportionate use of force, there was no excessive violence and it was a reaction to the situation they were faced with when they were prevented from doing their job."