• Spain's news in English

Embattled Catalan police roll out rubber bullet ban

The Local · 30 Apr 2014, 13:03

Published: 30 Apr 2014 13:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The ban on rubber bullets— first announced in November — arrives after around ten instances of people being injured by their use in recent years.

The most high profile case saw a woman blinded in her left eye at a protest in Barcelona during a general strike in November 2012. Ester Quintana says she was struck by a rubber ball fired by police. 

Two members of the 'Mossos' police force are under investigation over the incident, but Catalan police and the regional government have denied that rubber balls were used during the protest.

The balls, fired from guns, are used as a deterrent and are not supposed to inflict injury.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

The ban on the use of the balls also comes at at time when the Mossos public image is at a low ebb after three people having dying while being arrested by agents in recent months.

Among those deaths was that of gay businessman Juan Andrés Benítez.

Videos of his arrest in Barcelona’s El Raval neighbourhood show how Mossos d’Esquadra police officers holding down the man minutes after he was involved in a fight with a Moroccan couple for reasons which remain unknown.   

Benítez lost consciousness while in police custody and died the following day as a result of injuries sustained to the head which in turn had led to heart failure.   

Ten officers are now facing charges of homicide over the incident.

On Monday, the head of the embattled regional 'Mossos' police force officially asked for "forgiveness" from anyone who had "been damaged by the force's actions.

"Despite the defence of our individual actions, that doesn't mean we are insensitive to the suffering of those people who have suffered damage," said force commissioner Josep Lluís Trapero during the force's annual day of celebration.

Story continues below…

Trapero also went on to express his profound apology to the "family and friends" of those people.

But around 200 officers protested outside the ceremony attended by the top police official.

"We are all Ciutat Vella!" the agents shouted, a reference to the home police station where the ten agents facing charges for the murder of Benítez.    

Catalonia's regional president Artur Mas was also booed by the officers during the demonstration. 

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available