Spanish police have responded with “unjustified and unjustifiable” brutality, even with rubber bullets, to Catalonia’s unauthorized independence referendum, the region’s secessionist leader said Sunday.
Carles Puigdemont spoke after riot-gear officers stormed schools and other public buildings designated as polling stations. Catalans had occupied them in the past 72 hours in attempt to keep them open for voting.
Police responded to “ballot boxes, ballot papers and schools” with “batons and rubber bullets,” Puigdemont charged in a press conference. Such “police brutality will forever shame the Spanish state,” he added.
Social media was filled with images of officers in tense stand-offs with crowds. Some people could be seen dragged away by officers wearing helmets and carrying batons; others were injured and were carried out of schools in stretchers. Catalan regional health authorities wrote on Twitter that 38 people were injured following “Spanish police charges,” including nine who were hospitalized.
Most of the others were treated for “bruises, dizziness and panic attacks.” The Spanish government said it was necessary to enforce the rule of law and stop a vote banned by the Constitutional Court. “We were forced to do what we did not wish to do,” the Madrid government delegate for Catalonia, Enric Millo, said. “They cannot silence the voice of the people. We will vote and we will win,” pro-independence campaigner Jordi Sanchez, leader of the Catalan National Assembly, wrote on Twitter
-Barcelona (dpa), 01 Oct 2017