THE 6000 National Police and Civil Guard officers sent to Catalonia to stop the October 2017 independence referendum used the “minimum required” force, according to the former number two at Spain’s interior ministry.

And Jose Antonio Nieto continued the blame game at the Supreme Court in Madrid as he told the trial of 12 independence leaders that the response of the Catalan police, Mosses d’Esquadra, towards attempts to halt the poll had been “insufficient”.

Last week, former interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido denied giving the order to sent in reinforcements in a move that left more than 1000 civilians injured. Zoido blamed Nieto, who admitted yesterday that police had used force: “The force used was the minimum required … it was the worst case scenario.

“Catalan police did not intervene and the level of resistance was higher than expected. There were assaults against Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers.”

“Court orders made it clear that the referendum must be stopped.”

However, Joaquim Forn, the former Catalan interior minister – responsible for the Mossos – and one of those on trial for rebellion, said the whole case was built on lies.

He tweeted: “The story of the secretary of state Nieto is that of the public prosecutor’s office and the accusation of [far-right political party] VOX … the instruction of Judge Llarena … the Guardia Civil ... is a story full of falsehoods, which denies police violence on October 1 and blames it on the people who wanted to vote.”

Roger Torrent, the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, told the court yesterday that a referendum was the only way to settle the differences between Catalonia and Spain.

Answering questions from Javier Ortega, secretary general of Vox, Torrent said he would have done the same as his predecessor Carme Forcadell in allowing the poll, and he would not rule out another indyref: “I would have done the same as Forcadell. The conflict between Catalonia and the State will only be resolved through a referendum.

“A parliamentary initiative cannot be ruled out. Anyone who did, would be limiting or censoring the initiative of parliamentarians or groups.

“A president [speaker] of the Parliament cannot limit or censure the action of parliamentary groups.

“We will never renounce the majority will of the people of Catalonia. Keep in mind that we will vote again.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez yesterday fired the starting gun for a snap election on April 28 by formally approving the dissolution of parliament. His declaration will now receive royal assent and today will be his government’s final day of business before the poll.