Spain’s prime minister criticised for refusing to meet Catalan independence leaders

Pedro Sanchez 3

Spain’s prime minister has angered Catalan independence leaders after refusing to meet them on a visit to the protest-hit region yesterday.

Barcelona has been the focus of a week of protests by separatists sparked by the jailing of nine pro-independence politicians for their role in Catalonia’s failed 2017 declaration of independence.

During his visit Pedro Sanchez, who is acting prime minister in the middle of an election campaign, blamed the regional government for failing to restore order.

He said Quim Torra, the pro-independence regional leader, had “turned his back” on security forces and called on him to condemn violence by protesters.

Mr Torra said in a statement that he had always condemned violence.

His government also criticised Mr Sanchez for failing to enter into pro-independence dialogue.