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'Spain will try to hide the reality, but the rest of the world’s media will show it' - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has hit out at Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy after yesterday’s police brutality in Catalonia.

Image: PA

A DAY AFTER over 800 of his fellow Catalans injured by police while attempting to vote in the region’s unofficial independence referendum, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has criticised Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy and his government’s response to Sunday’s historic events in his homeland.

Riot police violently attempted to quell what the Spanish constitution dictates was an illegal vote in Catalonia, using pepper spray and rubber bullets – the latter illegal in the area – to deter prospective voters, while also forcing their way into polling stations and seizing ballot boxes.

Guardiola’s former club, FC Barcelona, opted to play their La Liga fixture with Las Palmas behind closed doors at Camp Nou yesterday evening, and the 46-year-old Santpedor native told Catalunya Radio and RAC1 that he disagreed with the decision.

“I wouldn’t have played the Barca-Las Palmas game, not at all,” Guardiola said.

“And if it did have to be played, then not behind closed doors. You do it with the public there. With all the consequences.”

Of the police brutality, the footage of which has drawn international condemnation, Guardiola added: “The images don’t lie. There were people who wanted to vote and they’ve been attacked with violence.

“There are more than 700 hurt…people who were going to vote, not rob a bank.

“Spain will try to hide the reality, but the rest of the world’s media will show it. The images are clear and everybody knows what has happened.

The former midfielder also called for answers from Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, whom he suggested should focus on fairly governing every Spanish citizen – including Catalans – until the independence issue reaches its conclusion.

“We don’t want them to think that we don’t like Spain,” Guardiola said. “Spain is an incredible country, with its literature, sport, cities… But you need to understand that there’s a population who want to decide their future.

“The Prime Minister of the Spanish government must accept questions, continue being the Prime Minister of all Spaniards.

“The laws are different now to 30 years ago. Everything’s changed. The message from the Prime Minister of the Government, from the opposition, has made me sad.

“Why can’t we learn from the British, who have had many more years of democracy then us?”

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