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Eight police officers to be investigated over violence at Catalan referendum polls

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The Local Spain/AFP - [email protected]
Eight police officers to be investigated over violence at Catalan referendum polls
Photos: AFP

A Spanish court has ordered eight police officials to be put under formal investigation over their alleged role in a violent crackdown against a banned 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia, according to a ruling published Thursday.

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Footage beamed around the world showed police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, throwing people down stairs and striking them with batons during the October 1, 2017 referendum in the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, sparking shock and complaints from human rights groups.

 


ABOVE: Footage sent to the Local Spain of police action at a polling station.

Probe into police violence

 

A court ordered eight officers who were "directly responsible for the... operations carried out in each polling station which are being probed... to be put under investigation," according to a ruling dated August 1 which was made
public on Thursday.   

It summoned the eight officers to appear before a Barcelona court on October 9th and 11th.

Both national and regional police were given orders to stop the referendum, which had been banned by the courts and Spain's central government, from going ahead.

National police leaders defended their handling of the referendum when they took the stand as witnesses earlier this year at the high-profile trial in Madrid of Catalan leaders over their role in staging the plebiscite.

They argued that Catalonia's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, did not comply as their leaders sided with Catalonia's separatist government, leaving it to national police to seize ballot papers and boxes, leading to clashes in polling stations.

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