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King criticised for following Spain's 'catastrophic' policies on Catalonian independence vote

A woman carries a Catalan flag as demonstrators march in downtown Barcelona, Spain PICTURE: Santi Palacios/AP

THE leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont has accused King Felipe VI of following Spain's central government's "catastrophic" policies towards the region.

The Catalan president called the central government "irresponsible" for not accepting mediation in the political crisis.

Mr Puigdemont's government is considering when it will declare independence from Spain in the wake of a disputed referendum, which triggered the country's worst national crisis in decades.

He has said an independence declaration will come within a few days, but Spain, which declared Sunday's referendum illegal and invalid, is bitterly opposed to any such move.

In a televised speech late yesterday, Mr Puigdemont condemned violence by police who tried to halt Sunday's referendum.

"We held the referendum amid an unprecedented repression and in the following days we will show our best face to apply the results of the referendum," he said.

The separatist leader told the king: "You have disappointed many Catalans."

Meanwhile, Spain's National Court is to question two senior officers from Catalonia's regional police force and the leaders of two pro-Catalan independence civic groups who have been placed under investigation for sedition.

The court said yesterday that the four will be quizzed tomorrow about their roles in demonstrations in Barcelona on September 21 and 22 when Spanish police arrested several Catalan government officials and raided offices in a crackdown on preparations for last weekend's referendum.

The four include regional police chief officer Josep Lluis Trapero and Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly, which has been the main civic group behind the independence movement.

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