Spain: Catalan separatists clash with police as tensions mount – 3,000 march to support Spanish police

Catalan police officers clash with pro independence demonstrators on their way to meet a demonstrations by member and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil in Barcelona on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

By JOSEPH WILSON,  Associated Press  BARCELONA, Spain (AP) 09/29 — Clashes between Catalan separatists and police in Barcelona left 14 people injured and led to six arrests Saturday as tensions boiled over days before the anniversary of the Spanish region’s illegal referendum on secession, which ended in violent raids by security forces.

Separatists tossed and sprayed colored powder at police officers, filling the air with a thick rainbow cloud and covering anti-riot shields and police vans. Some protestors threw eggs and other objects and engaged with the police line, which used batons to keep them back.

Pro independence demonstrators throw paint at Catalan police officers during clashes in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Catalan separatists clashed with police on Saturday in downtown Barcelona as tensions increase before the anniversary of the Spanish region’s illegal referendum on secession that ended in violent raids by security forces. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

 

The clashes erupted after local Catalan police intervened to form a barrier when a separatist threw purple paint on a man who was part of another march of people in support of Spanish police demanding a pay raise. Officers used batons to keep the opposing groups apart.

There were more confrontations as the separatists tried to enter Barcelona’s main city square where 3,000 people supporting Spanish police had ended their march.

Separatists shouted “Get out of here, fascists!” and “Independence!” at the Spanish police supporters, who responded by shouting “We will be victorious!” and “Our cause is just!”

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau pleaded for peace when the first scuffles broke out.

Catalan police officers clash with pro independence demonstrators on their way to meet demonstrations by members and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil in Barcelona on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

 

“I make a call for calm,” Colau told Catalunya Radio. “This city has always defended that everyone can exercise their rights to free speech.”

The Catalan police told The Associated Press that the six arrests were made on charges of aggressions against police officers. The investigation was continuing.

One police officer was hurt, although it was not immediately clear if the officer was among the 14 people reported by health authorities as needing medical treatment. Three were taken to hospital while the others were attended to on the street.

There were ugly episodes between members of the opposing groups.

An AP photographer saw a group of several people who had come to support the Spanish police being chased by a mob of around 100 separatists, some of whom tried to kick and trip the supporters before they could reach the safety of local police. Separately, a woman punched a man who supports Catalan secession in the face before police could separate them.

The pro-police march had originally planned to end in another square home to the regional and municipal government seats but 6,000 separatists, according to local police, gathered in the square to force regional authorities to alter the march’s route. Some separatists arrived the night before and camped out in the square.

Members and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil march during a protest demanding better pay in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

 

“The separatists are kicking us out,” said national police officer Ibon Dominguez, who attended the march. “They are kicking the national police and Guardia Civil out of the streets of our own country.”

The police march was organized by the police association JUSAPOL, which wants Spain’s two nationwide police forces, the national police and Civil Guard, to be paid as much as Catalonia’s regional police.

JUSAPOL holds marches in cities across Spain, but Saturday’s march in Barcelona comes two days before Catalonia’s separatists plan to remember last year’s referendum on secession held by the regional government despite its prohibition by the nation’s top court.

That Oct. 1 referendum was marred when national police and Civil Guard officers clashed with voters, injuring hundreds.

JUSAPOL spokesman Antonio Vazquez told Catalan television TV3 that while the march’s goal was to demand better salaries, they also wanted to support the national police and Civil Guard officers who had been ordered to dismantle the referendum.

“The national police and Civil Guard agents who acted last year were doing their duty and now they are under pressure and we have to support them,” Vazquez said.

Last year’s police operation that failed to stop the referendum has become a rallying call for Catalonia’s separatists, who point to it as evidence of Spain’s mistreatment of the wealthy region that enjoys an ample degree of self-rule.

“Outrageous! They shouldn’t be here. They came here to hit us a year ago and today they want to make an homage to that. It is pathetic,” said secession supporter Montse Romero.

Pro-secession lawmaker Vidal Aragones of the extreme left CUP party called the police march an “insult to the Catalan people.”

Members and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil wave Spanish flags during a protest demanding better pay in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

While Catalonia has seen huge political rallies take place without incident for several years, two weeks ago police had to intervene to keep apart rallies by Catalan separatists and Spanish unionists in Barcelona, the region’s capital.

Catalonia’s separatist-led government is asking Spain’s central authorities to authorize a binding vote on secession. Last year’s illegal vote led to an ineffective declaration of independence by Catalonia’s parliament that gained no international recognition and triggered a months-long takeover by central authorities.

Polls and recent elections show that the region’s 7.5 million residents are roughly equally divided by the secession question.

___

AP video journalist Renata Brito and AP photographer Daniel Cole contributed to this report.

https://www.apnews.com/a63fdaf0d8ab415db096573976ea31d9/Catalan-separatists-clash-with-police-as-tensions-mount

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Attacks on Police, Injuries, International Policing, Police, Politics, Protests/Civil Unrest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.