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Spanish police 'beat people' and 'pulled them by the hair,' say referendum voters

In day 38 of Catalan trial, people at polling places for 2017 independence vote report "very violent conduct" from officers


30 April 2019 11:09 AM


ACN | Barcelona

Day 38 of the trial of Catalan leaders in the Supreme Court begins with testimony from people who voted in the October 1, 2017 independence referendum, some of whom report being injured by the Spanish police deployed to stop the vote.

The first witness to take the stand reported seeing "very violent conduct" by Spanish police officers who he said "beat people and pulled people by the hair," while another said he was forcefully removed by officers, who then kicked him "twice in the back."

Another witness, Joan Pau Salvadó, spoke about police beating voters despite the "peaceful" nature of the voters, raising their hands and saying "we only want to vote." 

Asked why he went to vote that day, Salvadó answered the prosecutors: "It was the most important day of my life." 

Albert Salvadó, another witness testifying this morning, told the court: "The first officers brought people out without violence, but they were forceful. After that, more police arrived, who exercised explicit violence. I saw several friends with shirts destroyed with blood."

Salvadó also denied any suggestion of violence on behalf of the voters, adding there were insults to police but no threats. 

According to the Catalan health department, CatSalut, some 1,066 people received medical attention for injuries sustained on the day of the referendum. In fact, the head of CatSalut at the time, David Elvira, is also due to testify on Tuesday.

In the afternoon, the court will return to hearing testimony from police officials, such as Sergi Pla, a chief commissioner in the Mossos d'Esquadra Catalan police and who for years has been in charge of the force's riot unit.

Testimony from Pere García, the secretary general of the Autonomous Police Union, and Josep Gulliot, an official from the Union of Catalan Police Commanders, will bring this week's sessions in the court to an end.


  • One of the 2017 referendum voters who testified on Tuesday in Spain's Supreme Court

  • One of the 2017 referendum voters who testified on Tuesday in Spain's Supreme Court