On Twitter, the videos are circulating about police violence under the hashtag #FascistState or #sPain, an artificial word from Spain and pain. You can see snapshots like this: On a wide street, a number of demonstrators are sitting on the ground as the police rushes towards them. The crowd runs away, one gets up too late and is brutally beaten by five officials. In another video, a Mossos crew car drives a demonstrator, the bystanders scream in panic. Other police vehicles drive "carousel". So it is said when team cars in snaking lines drive across the street to drive out the demonstrators. Is this police tactic? One click away is the video of a man who obviously sets out with a bucket of water to put out a fire: Five policemen rush at him, throw him to the ground, beat him, arrest him. Meanwhile, the man is free again. Is such a reaction to be understood in the heat of the moment?
The Catalonia conflict has always been primarily a propaganda war. Now that he is actually accompanied by violent clashes, especially. To detect this, the handle is enough for the remote control. While television broadcasters TV3 are reporting excessive police violence on the Catalan TV channel, the Spanish private channel Tele5 speaks almost exclusively of atrocities against the police. On Friday, when the violence reached its peak, police officers were said to have been attacked with chainsaws. The radio station Cadena SER has published a video from the inside of a car of the Spanish police. Stones crackle against the vehicle, one of the officials fears that the rubber bullets could go out: "This is hell." Already in the days before Molotov cocktails and acid-filled glass bottles were flown against the officials. A police helicopter was attacked with fireworks. "As soon as we were seen, we were directly attacked by demonstrators," says a police investigator.
Catalonia experienced the worst riots in decades last week. Nearly 700 cars have been destroyed so far, more than 800 containers burned. Traffic lights, street furniture, the road surface were destroyed. At 2.7 million euros, property damage is estimated. Even more frightening are the casualties: nearly 600 people had to be treated for medical treatment. 298 of them are police officers, almost all officials of the Spanish police. 13 of the injured are still in hospital, including a demonstrator with traumatic brain injury and a badly wounded National Police. His helmet was hit by an object on Friday. On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited him.
"Use of violence was clearly proportional"
Spanish Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska slammed any demand for proportionality on Saturday. "We are dealing with well-organized, extremely violent groups," said the Minister of the Interior. "We regret the injuries, but the use of force was clearly proportional."
Grande-Marlaska referred in particular to the four people who had lost their eyesight in the riots - by rubber or hard foam bullets. In many European countries, their use is prohibited. Unlike bruises or fractures, such injuries do not heal and therefore outrage the public in particular. When street battles were fought on Friday at the Plaça Urquinaona police and demonstrators and meter-high smoke clouds colored entire facades black, a few demonstrators fled into a doorway and accusingly showed a handful of rubber balls to an ARD cameraman, picking them up on the glass-splintered and stone-strewn street had. "They are forbidden!" Shouted one.
In fact, the Catalan police have prohibited their use since 2013 and instead use foam bullets. The Spanish police continue to use rubber bullets and tear gas. In operations in Catalonia, Policía Nacional, Guardia Civil and Mossos d'Esquadra work together under one central command. Since the guidelines only apply to the respective police body, the rubber bullets are not illegal.