About twenty Spanish police officers are being investigated by the examining magistrate in charge of the case the 1-Oct baton charges on the day of Catalonia’s independence referendum. On Tuesday, 'Eldiario.es' published footage of some of the riot police attacks at several polling stations as seen from the perspective of the officers themselves, who usually carry video cameras mounted onto their gear.
"You'll come out the hard way or the easy way," "Go home, damn it" or "Out, everybody out" are some of the phrases used by the officers, one of whom expressed frustration at a polling station in Sabadell because he couldn’t find "fu**ing ballot boxes ". In turn, the protesters responded with the cry of "We will vote".
The longest clip published by the digital newspaper was recorded at the Col·legi Nostra Llar in Sabadell, the station where Carme Forcadell was set to vote (in the end, the then President of the Catalan Parliament ended up voting at the Joanot Alisanda school). The footage shows how officers evicted voters who were blocking the school’s entrance. Then they entered the polling station using sledgehammers, where the people manning the polling place received them with their arms raised. At that moment, a police officer can be heard complaining about not finding "fu**ing ballot boxes", which were hidden until the polling station reopened once the officers had left. Those gathered sang 'Els Segadors’, the Catalan national anthem, as the officers retreated from the school. Before withdrawing, they fired blank shots. A Sabadell judge dismissed the ensuing complaints because he could not identify any of the officers.
Another video shows the Spanish police in action at Barcelona’s Col·legi Mediterrània, another school that was used as a polling station, where the riot police pulled the protesters out by force. One of the officers can be heard saying "keep taking out" the voters. The operational commander and a deputy commander have been charged for these actions. The police operation at the Col·legi Ramon Llull in Barcelona can also be seen. Here the officers chose to remove the people grabbing and pulling them by their arms, legs, and even by the head. Throughout the operation, one of the officers kept trying to persuade the members of the public to willingly leave the school, if they wanted to avoid violence. "When something unfortunate happens, don't say that it was down to the police," an officer said. "Because of the Sanfermines she’ll say that it was rape," a colleague replies. As the officers left the venue there were several police charges in the vicinity of the school during which Roger Español lost the sight in one eye due to a rubber bullet. Thirteen police officers have been charged for these actions.
Several officers can be heard warning the people gathered to leave before the police took action, but they refused to budge, although they always maintained a passive (non-violent) attitude. “You'll come out the hard way or the easy way”, said an officer to a group of young people. At one point a girl responded to an policeman: "I understand your position, but I want to vote."