STAFF turning up for work yesterday at the HQ of Catalan group Omnium Cultural were shocked to find the façade of the building daubed with swastikas.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the vandalism, the latest in a series of such attacks in Catalonia.

It caused outrage on social media, with Omnium’s vice president, Marcel Mauri, tweeting: “Despite the attacks of the most extreme and intolerant, we will continue to be profoundly anti-fascist and committed to the rights and freedoms of all. Although some would like it, they will never be able to silence our voice.”

Jordi Cuixart, who heads the organisation, tweeted from prison – where he has been held without trial for more than a year: “Fascism cannot tolerate @omnium because we fight for freedom and democracy. Those who refuse the fascist impunity are the same ones that did not condemn the Franco regime. #NoPassaran!”

The vandalism was also condemned by exiled former president Carles Puigdemont, and his successor Quim Torra, who wrote: “Dear, I still give us more strength to come to grips with the egg of the snake fascist and to continue working, tirelessly, to the language, culture and freedom in the country.”

Catalan vice president, Pere Aragones, tweeted: “We’re proud to be enemies to fascism. They shall not pass!”

Omnium is a pro-independence organisation and is not the first to be targeted in this manner. The headquarters buildings of pro-indy parties CUP and ERC in Figueres were painted with swastikas last December.

Meanwhile, a poll by Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano, indicates almost half of those surveyed in 10 European countries believe Spain has been “too authoritarian” and not “open to dialogue” when dealing with the Catalan independence issue. The research found that 49% of people thought Spain had been too authoritarian, with 21% disagreeing.

Belgium, Germany and the UK – where Catalan leaders have fought extradition proceedings brought by Spain – were most critical of Madrid.

More than half of those surveyed (53%) thought the Spanish government had not been “open enough to dialogue” – Germany leads this ranking, at 63%. The poll also showed most of the sample thought independence would be good for Catalonia and bad for Spain.