Four members of the British Houses of Parliament who were in Catalonia for the 2017 independence referendum have written a letter to The Times denying the accusations of violence levelled at voters. They say the only violence they saw that day came from the police. They are writing in response to statements made by Civil Guard agents in court, who "described those days as being an 'insurrectionary period'", and accused voters of having attacked them.
In the letter, they say that all the protests they saw against the "police raids on polling stations... were entirely non-violent". On the other hand, they saw "on occasion" the police make "forcible entr[ies]" to confiscate ballot boxes and engage in the "batoning of those trying to protect the polling stations". "[T]he only violence we saw was committed by the police," they end.
Letter to @thetimes - International Observers in #Catalonia say “On #1Oct all the protests against police raids in order to seize ballot boxes etc were entirely non-violent.— Douglas Chapman MP 🏴 (@DougChapmanSNP) 29 de març de 2019
The only violence we saw was committed by the police against citizens.” @thetimes @anc_de @CatalansForYes pic.twitter.com/OqwmgSwstz
Note: Click on the image in the tweet to see the full letter.
The letter is signed by Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru), Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrats) and Joanna Cherry MP and Douglas Chapman MP (SNP). Williams is head of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia.
Meanwhile, Williams also entered an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on the Spanish Electoral Commission's order to the Catalan government delegation in London to remove a yellow ribbon from the front of their building. EDMs are a mechanism for MPs to record their views or draw attention to specific events or issues. They rarely lead to a full debate in the Commons.
Williams' EDM "notes with puzzlement" the commission's decision, asking "how such a display could possibly influence Spanish voters in Spain". It also expresses concern that "two members of the Electoral Board are also Supreme Court judges" involved in the independence trial, a number of the defendants in which are standing in the election.