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Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has used the phrase "fake news" to dismiss many of the images showing Spanish police attacking voters on Catalonia's referendum day, October 1st. In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday morning, he repeatedly described many of the images as "fake", to the surprise of the interviewer.

Asked to clarify, Dastis explained that "not all the images are fake, but some of them are". "There have been a lot of alternative facts and fake news here and, if there was some use of force, it was not deliberate, but provoked", he emphasised.

The minister also assured that he did not believe that there was any "brutal situation", but rather that the use of force —"if there was any"— was "limited" and was due to the fact that "the law and order agencies were prevented from discharging the orders of the courts".

Justification of 155

In the same interview, Dastis explained that by applying article 155 of the constitution to suspend Catalonia's home rule, the Spanish government is attempting to restore the legal order, the constitution and the Catalan law which is subordinate to it. In this regard, he stated that article 155 would establish "the authorities who are going to rule the day-to-day affairs of Catalonia according to Catalan laws and norms". 

Finally, asked about whether there would be any legal option for the independence of Catalonia, the minister replied that this would require a reform of the constitution that would have to be approved by all the Spanish people. "The countries of the EU, our partners, will not accept a decision of this nature to be taken by just one part of the country", highlighted Dastis. He added that the case of Scotland is "exceptional".

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