7th December 2019
Manuel Marchena
Barcelona News Catalonia News Madrid News Main News

Catalan Trial: Day 21 summary

The trial of Catalan independence leaders in Spain’s Supreme Court entered its 7th week and 21st day on Monday, with witness testimonies from two Guardia Civil officers overseeing the police raids of official buildings in Barcelona on 20 September 2017.

Catalan Trial: click here full details of those accused, the charges, and the accusers.

The protests on that day, in which Spanish police raided public buildings, offices and homes aiming to halt the preparations for the 1 October independence referendum, in large part forms the basis for the charges of sedition and rebellion against the leaders on trial.

ALSO READ: Catalan trial: controversy over ‘rebellion’ and violence

A Guardia Civil officer who was in charge of a raid on the Catalan finance ministry was the first to testify on Monday morning, with a total of 30 members of the police force – and five officers from the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra – due to take the stand as witnesses over the coming days.

‘I saw how people wanted to break into the building. The gates were made of iron and wood, but they were collapsing. Police officers had to hold them up,’ the Guardia Civil officer told the Supreme Court.

ALSO READ: Right to defence being undermined, say lawyers

Manuel Marchena
Manuel Marchena (centre) presiding over the proceedings at the Supreme Court on 12 February 2019 (POOL Efe / via ACN)

The officer described the scenes outside the Catalan finance ministry, saying: ‘It was crazy to see people standing on police cars.’

‘At 10am I was at the entrance of the finance ministry. There was a crowd screaming, harassing, intimidating … They were on vehicles,’ the officer told the court, adding that there was ‘an objective and obvious risk’ of protestors ‘attacking’ Guardia Civil police officers.

ALSO READ: The ‘Jordis’ can now appeal to the EU Court of Human Rights

‘Protestors threw a traffic cone at police officers – then we knew they had found a way to get into our cars,’ said the officer, who added that he warned his Catalan counterpart, Teresa Laplana, that there were weapons inside the police cars, but she did not seem ‘very concerned’.

According to the witness, weapons inside police cars had ‘real ammunition’, thus contradicting a previous testimony from a former head of the Guardia Civil, Ángel Gozalo, who said instead that they had non-lethal ammunition (such as rubber bullets) used by riot police.

The officer also referred to the role of Jordi Sànchez, a defendant and then-president of the Catalan National Assembly (ACN) grassroots group, who presented himself as a spokesperson for the crowd protesting outside the finance ministry.

ALSO READ: Felipe VI: ‘democracy not above respecting the law’

‘It’s absurd that we had to manage security issues with the president of an organisation,’ said the witness, who explained that Teresa Laplana, a Catalan police high-ranking official, appeared to ‘follow orders’ from the activist.

The officer also told of a document seized during the September raids including 176 measures on the creation of a Catalan state, and with finance official Lluís Salvadó and former government spokesperson Elsa Artadi with leading roles.

The document also mentioned the Catalan National Assembly, which was supposed to carry out protests in the aftermath of the 1 October referendum.

Catalan Trial: click here full details of those accused, the charges, and the accusers.

Click here for all articles and updates on the Catalan Trial

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