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With the appearance in Barcelona's "City of Justice" of the first police officers responsible for the disproportionate referendum violence, the importance of having a strategy when it comes to fabricating a narrative which ends up overwriting or questioning the truth has been laid bare. Given the official statistics that more than a thousand people had to be attended to by medical teams thanks to the police's actions, the Spanish state established three backstops: the police's intervention was proportionate, the true number of injured was far fewer than the Catalan government said and many of the hair-raising images broadcast that day were manipulated. Come on, they were "fake news". There was even a foreign minister who nobody still remembers who responded to the surname Dastis who said so in interviews with the BBC and Sky News and came up against the bewilderment of the former and a severe dressing down from the latter.

The state's lie didn't make it over the Pyrenees but was, from the beginning, for internal consumption. Those members of the Civil Guard and the National Police Corps who abandoned their posts for weeks encouraged by the authorities and their commanders between patriotic chants and shouts of a por ellos (go get 'em") and who had, moreover, the support of Felipe VI praising their actions and irreversibly distancing himself from the majority of the Catalan people, understood from the very beginning the importance of their mission. Maybe thanks to that, lacking specific orders, they didn't even need a specific directive to take out their batons and a prior instruction was enough: "If they couldn't carry out what they'd been entrusted with [removing the ballot boxes from the polling stations], they had to charge". Free hands, autonomy and discretion.

None of the testimony from the first police summonsed to the court has had, however, the impact of the National Police Corps inspector's comments on a photo which went viral and was seen around the world of a woman with white hair and bloody face and hands. A terrible image of the disproportionate police intervention. Mariano Rajoy will maybe explain some day what the pressure was from European diplomacy which stopped the blood bath there was at many polling stations. Because that's what it was: a blood bath of peaceful bodies facing extremely violent police with the already mentioned injured as a result.

Yes, it was blood. Not "alleged blood", not red paint. It wasn't a performance, or a play. The police charges which were actively or passively allowed have been recorded for ever. Some are still going round like zombies in the theatre that political life often becomes. To come now and say that maybe it was red paint and not blood is a defence strategy to hide a cutting reality that many Catalans will never forget.

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