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Police did not expect violence during 2017 referendum, says former official

Finishing his testimony in the Supreme Court, Manuel Castellví confirms government and pro-independence groups called for "peaceful" behavior


11 March 2019 11:10 AM


ACN | Madrid
In the days leading up to the independence referendum on October 1, 2017, none of the three police forces charged with halting the vote expected any violence.
That is according to the head of information of the Catalan police at the time, Manuel Castellví, who finished giving testimony in the Supreme Court on Monday morning.
Castellví began testifying in the trial of Catalan independence leaders on Friday, but his court appearance had to be cut short and was adjourned until Monday.
According to the former police official, the Catalan government called for "peaceful and civilized" behavior during the October 1 referendum.
He also said that pro-independence groups, whose leaders from 2017 are in the dock, "always called for non-violent rallies, and there were never any incidents at their events."
Following Castellví on the stand on Monday was the Catalan police official responsible for planning and security, Emili Quevedo.
Castellví's comments contrasted with what he said on Friday, when he told the court he had warned the government of concerns about an "escalation of violence" on the day of the vote.
According to the official, the Catalan government thought that the referendum would be "like a normal election," and he said he urged them to comply with court orders to stop the vote.
Castellví was also critical of Catalan and Spanish police heads for not seeing the "magnitude" of the public response: "We failed, we didn't foresee the major social movement behind the referendum," he said.


  • Manuel Castellví completed his testimony at the Supreme Court on Monday

  • Manuel Castellví completed his testimony at the Supreme Court on Monday