In light of the disproportionate police action on 1 October, Barcelona City Council activated a special support service for victims with the aim of offering legal and psycho-social support for people affected either directly or indirectly by the police charges. The service concluded on 20 October, having attended to 294 people.
The information provided by witnesses and the injured indicates a violation of basic human rights such as freedom of expression, moral integrity and the right of assembly and peaceful demonstration, contravening national and international legislation.
The results of the report show that the police action “was intended to cause panic among the civilian population, to demobilise and deter people who had not yet gone to vote”, according to the Deputy Mayor for Citizen Rights, Participation and Transparency, Jaume Asens, who added: “On 1 October we witnessed the worst episode of institutional violence which has ever occurred in our city from a qualitative and quantitative perspective”.
The report in figures
Among the different types of aggressions detailed in the report, punches, kicks and blows (49) were the most common, followed by pushes and shoves (35) and blows from batons to particularly sensitive parts of the body (22). Other equally important types of aggressions, with psychological rather than physical effects, included abusive and humiliating treatment, such as repeated shoving from officers, insults and dragging, as well as two cases of sexual aggression explained by two women attended to.
The use of rubber bullets, illegal in Catalonia since December 2013, left two people injured, one of them seriously. If the National Police and the Civil Guard corps are not obliged to comply with that prohibition, their use has to be regulatory, in line with established protocols. Asens pointed out: “We will be acting as the private prosecutor in the case of the young man who has lost an eye due to the impact of a rubber bullet”. The City Council does not rule out doing the same in other serious cases.
Local residents attended to by the service requested legal and psycho-social support (65), and also contacted the Office for Non-Discrimination to collaborate by offering information and audio-visual material to be used as evidence (41), to request information (17) and to take part in group sessions (171).
The conclusions from the report also show that victims felt that institutional support had gone some way to repairing the damage suffered, as had the work done in workshops and the proceedings initiated by the criminal investigation court in Barcelona against the police action.