"It was German chancellor Angela Merkel who prevented a bloodbath on the day of the Catalan independence referendum, 1st October". This is the affirmation of German newspaper Telepolis in an extensive article published on Saturday entitled "It is becoming more and more difficult for the Spanish judge Llarena".
The newspaper quotes what Catalan ombudsman Rafael Ribó said in an interview with Scottish daily The National; Ribó revealed that, on the day of the Catalan vote, when television news around the world was already showing scenes of Spanish police violently repressing the referendum, the German chancellor had phoned Spain's then-prime minister Mariano Rajoy to make it clear to him that "Europe cannot accept police brutality".
For this reason, Telepolis asserts that Merkel "prevented a bloodbath" and adds that "it was clear that there must have been police actions planned for the hours in the middle of the day". The newspaper says that thanks to Angel Merkel's phone call "the police squads that had been ordered to carry out a military operation against peaceful citizens were told to stop. They did not take further actions which had been expected in the afternoon to continue confiscating ballot boxes".
Telepolis indicates that the call is "the only explanation for the fact that after 2pm, voters were no longer threatened with illegal rubber bullets and no further heads were bashed".
In the interview in which Ribó spoke of this conversation between the two heads of government, he stated that Angela Merkel's action is the only evidence of any intervention by European politicians in Spanish affairs in relation to the Catalan independence issue.