Catalan police prioritized ‘helping the injured’ during October 1 referendum

Recordings reveal Mossos d’Esquadra officers were surprised by violence of Spanish police and Guardia Civil at polling stations


A Catalan police officer looking over some ballot boxes in Lleida (by Salvador Miret)
A Catalan police officer looking over some ballot boxes in Lleida (by Salvador Miret) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 14, 2018 04:28 PM

The Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, prioritized “helping the injured and providing advice to those in the vicinity” during the attacks by Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers on polling places during the independence referendum held on October 1.

In recordings published online on Wednesday by 'La Vanguardia' newspaper, Catalan police officers can also be heard expressing their surprise over the aggressive behavior shown by Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers.

The recordings begin just before 6.30 am on October 1, when squads of police officers were making their way to polling places, which were manned by hundreds of people ready to bar the way of the approaching police in a “peaceful” and “festive” manner.

However, from 9am, Catalan police officers start warning of aggressive attacks by squads of Spanish police and Guardia Civil, and reports of the first injured people begin.

In fact, the recordings show that the Mossos d’Esquadra and the Spanish police did not act in coordination.

For example, at the polling place in the Joan Fuster secondary school in Barcelona, soon after 9 am, the recordings reveal the first warnings of the raids by Spanish police, with reports of voters being removed “by force”.

Meanwhile, another Catalan police officer at a polling place on the Mare de Déu de Lorda street in Barcelona says that “the reports of the raids by the CNP (Spanish National Police) have arrived and people are now barricading the street with rubbish containers.”

Soon after 10 am, Spanish police raided the Escola Pia Sant Antoni on Barcelona’s Ronda Sant Pau, at one of the most tense moments of the day, with the recordings revealing that Mossos commanders ordered their officers not to intervene and to leave “the conflict zone.”