Catalonia protests: Man 'shot in eye with rubber bullet' amid police crackdown

The man was one of nearly 900 people hurt by police as they tried to go to the polls

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 02 October 2017 17:17
Comments
Riot police clash with voters as polls open in Catalonia's independence referendum

A man has been severely injured after being shot in the eye with a rubber bullet during the confrontation between police and voters over the Catalan independence referendum.

The Civil Guard opened fire on citizens trying to vote in the referendum, which Madrid deemed illegal, using rubber bullets — something the local Catalan police force banned in 2014.

Officers were seen beating and dragging people down the stairs of polling stations. At least 861 people were injured, according to the Catalan authorities.

The man was reportedly injured during a stand-off between police and voters outside the Ramon Llull school in Barcelona around 10:30am on Sunday.

He was taken to the Hospital de Sant Pau for surgery, El Periodico reported.

The use of rubber bullets by local police was banned in the region following a number of controversies surrounding their use by the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force, after numerous reports of serious injuries.

In 2012, a local woman named Ester Quintana lost an eye after being shot with a rubber bullet during a strike. The local parliament passed a law in late 2013 which forbade the Mossos from using them from April 2014.

But this ruling does not apply to the Civil Guard, which is a centralised police answerable to Madrid, who were brought in to stop the referendum.

A total of 861 people were reportedly injured in the violence which was condemned by Catalan separatists and the international community.

But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy remained defiant saying there had been no independence referendum and the Catalan people had been tricked into taking part in an illegal action.

As the results of the ballot came in, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont declared that 90 per cent of the votes which were not seized had been in favour of independence.

He previously said if a simple majority of voters were in favour of independence he would announce Catalonia’s unilateral secession from Spain within 48 hours –prompting the biggest constitutional crisis in Spain since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s.

Mr Rajoy is reportedly considering whether to enact Article 155 of the Spanish constitution which enacts direct rule of Catalonia from Madrid.

The act, which has never been invoked, describes itself as being “for exception cases only” such as when a region’s actions “gravely damage Spain’s general interest”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in