Catalonian independence referendum: Video shows Spanish police hurling voters down stairs and snatching ballot boxes

Riot police can be seen forcibly pushing voters down a crowded flight of stairs in a polling station, causing people to fall backwards onto crowds

May Bulman
Sunday 01 October 2017 16:25
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Footage shows riot police brutally eject Catalans from polling station

Footage has emerged showing Spanish police hurling voters down stairs and snatching ballot boxes from polling stations amid bitter clashes over the controversial independence referendum.

Video clips of violent conduct by officers have been shared widely on social media, prompting outrage from internet users and leading figures across Europe.

In one video, riot police can be seen forcibly pushing voters down a crowded flight of stairs in a polling station, causing people to fall backwards onto crowds.

One woman can then be seen being jostled out of the building by officers, who appear to violently grab her by the face during the process.

A number of other people are also dragged out of the building by the riot police, one of whom appears to be pulled out by their hair.

Children and elderly people can be seen among the crowds being subject to police force.

Separate video footage shows police officers storming a polling station, swiping the ballot boxes from tables and removing them from the premises.

At one stage, a man mounts a struggle with an officer by attempting to grab a box back, but ultimately throws it back at the officer, presumably out of fear.

People in the poling station then begin to hold their hands in the air and sing together in solidarity.

The footage has prompted outrage on social media, with one Twitter user, Gissur Simonarson, describing the police as “fascist thugs” and urging: “The people are peaceful”.

Another, named only Tom, said: “I can’t see there not being a violent response to this. My blood is boiling just watching the footage.”

Politicians from across Europe, including in the UK, have also condemned the action by Spanish enforcement authorities.

Jeremy Corbyn said the police brutality in Catalonia was “shocking” and urged the Spanish government to “act to end it now”.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile tweeted: “Regardless of views on independence, we should all condemn the scenes being witnessed.”

The Catalan government said 337 people have been injured “by the Spanish state police violence,” and accused Spanish police of responding with a “go get them” attitude.

Raül Romeva, the Catalan foreign minister, said: “We have initiated contacts with the EU about the violation of fundamental rights that puts the very same EU at risk.

“We urge Europe’s institutions to condemn the violence that European citizens are suffering.”

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