Spanish police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Catalonia during a disputed referendum, using batons to hit non-threatening protestors and causing multiple injuries. Human Rights Watch received many allegations of unjustified police use of force on October 1, 2017, and carried out on-site investigations after the poll to document specific incidents.
Human Rights Watch spoke to victims and witnesses and reviewed video, photographic and medical evidence from the city of Girona and two villages in Girona and Barcelona provinces. Human Rights Watch found that the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) or Cuerpo Nacional de Policia (National Police Force) at times used excessive force in all three locations on October 1 as they sought to execute court orders to prevent the poll.
October 12, 2017News Release