Catalan minister urges EU to intervene after Spain's 'brutal crackdown'
Catalonia's foreign affairs chief has appealed for support from the European Union before a disputed referendum calling for independence from Spain.
Raul Romeva, speaking to journalists on Thursday in Brussels, said EU institutions need to "understand that this is a big issue".
Mr Romeva spoke a day after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont accused the EU of "turning its back" on Catalonia in its conflict with Spain's central government.
Mr Romeva accused the Spanish government of a "brutal crackdown" on Catalan officials to try to prevent Sunday's referendum, which Spain considers to be illegal.
He said it has "generated an unprecedented level of shock".
He said he does not expect violence, because "it's not in the Catalan DNA to use violence to solve political problems".