Nine of those injured by the use of force by Spain's National Police and Civil Guard against the Catalan referendum on 1st October 2017 have presented a lawsuit to the National Audience for a charge of a crime against humanity against the senior leadership of the Spanish police. They are being supported by Associació d'Afectats de l'1-O, Associació Advocada per la Democràcia de Lleida and Associació Atenes de Juristes pels Drets Civils.
The complaint names former junior minister José Antonio Nieto; the coordinator of the police operation on the day, Civil Guard colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos; former regional head of the Civil Guard for Catalonia Ángel Gozalo; former head of the National Police in Catalonia Sebastián Trapote; former delegate of the Spanish government to Catalonia Enric Millo; former delegate of the Spanish government to Barcelona Emilio Ablanedo; former delegate of the Spanish government to Tarragona Jordi Sierra; former under delegate of the Spanish government to Catalonia Inmaculada Manso; former delegate of the Spanish government to Girona Juan Manuel Sánchez, and the senior officers of the Civil Guard and National Police at each polling station.
"Everything happens at the same time and in the same way, it's an order from above which allows the police to act systematically against the population that was voting", said Lluís Mestres, one of the lawyers on the complaint.
Although all of the nine have already presented complaints to their local investigating courts, they believe there's a need to go further. Virgínia Martínez, whose case is before a court in Mataró, said: "Each of us has filed a complaint, independent from our complaints, the lawsuit is for the impunity, because it wasn't a police officer who decided that, it was organised. We have to attack from different directions, and this is certainly one of those which is favourable for us."
"That day I was born again"
"I had an active life, I did a lot of things; at 70 years old I wasn't thinking they'd do something as brutal as that. They knocked me to the ground; [other voters] helped me. Luckily one of them was a nurse and knew there was a clinic with a defibrillator. I was born again." That was the memory of Enric Sirvent who suffered a heart attack that day after being thrown to the ground by a police officer.