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Amnesty International, in a report released this Thursday, has publicly denounced the "obstruction" by public prosecutors and the Interior ministry towards clarifying the "abuses" committed by Spanish police and the Civil Guard gendarmerie during the 1st October independence referendum in Catalonia, when agents from the two forces assaulted polling stations in the face of passive resistence from the public.

So, the organisation, which has documented cases of an "excessive use of force", reprimands public prosecutors for their "disinterest and lack of collaboration" in clarifying events, something which "reneges on their role to drive investigations" despite the efforts of various Catalan courts.

In the report 1-O en Catalunya: Obstáculos para la investigación del uso excesivo de la fuerza (1st October in Catalonia: Obstacles for the investigation of the excessive use of force), Amnesty point towards a "disqualification of the complaints, obstruction of the proceedings and even a lack of interest in the process, complicating the clarification of the facts by the pertinent legal authorities".

The NGO says that prosecutors have tried to prove a supposed "violence from the demonstrators", as a key element to "dismiss the legal investigations over excessive use of force", presenting videos showing participation by protesters in incidents with the security forces.

Likewise, they report that prosecutors have opposed offering those injured the chance to appear in person in proceedings, saying that the light nature of the injuries means they wouldn't have to be investigated legally, unless those affected submit complaints.

Currently, Amnesty is especially following the proceedings investigating the three cases they have documented, specifically those underway in Barcelona's court of instruction number 7 into 257 complaints (including those from Roger Español, who lost an eye to a police rubber bullet on 1st October, and Alejandra Rayas), and in Girona's court of instruction number 2 into 200 complaints (including those relating to incidents in Aiguaviva).

Withdrawal of rubber bullets

Moreover, Amnesty calls on Spain's Interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, to stop the use of rubber bullets as used by the police in Barcelona, as they are "highly imprecise" and "entail a high risk for physical integrity".

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