Catalan referendum: Human rights group Amnesty condemns 'excessive and disproportionate force' used by police

The Catalan regional government claims over 800 people were injured

Catalan voters clashed with police across the region

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Human rights group Amnesty says it is appalled by the "excessive and disproportionate use of force" used by Spanish police during the Catalan independence referendum.

Catalonia held its referendum on Sunday (October 1) in defiance of the national government, which branded it illegal. The day was marred with violence throughout the region, as Guardia Civil police officers clashed with police, and the Catalan regional government claims 844 people were injured.

Amnesty has said: "Spanish police have clearly been obstructed in the exercise of their duties at numerous polling stations... but there is plenty of footage to suggest that police officers have used excessive and disproportionate force at at least some of them.

"With tensions running high, it is essential that both Spanish law and international human rights law is respected.

“Spanish police must avoid the excessive use of force; and whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, they must use it with restraint and in proportion to the seriousness of the law enforcement objective.”

Amnesty has also promised a full report on what went on in Catalonia as voters headed to the polls.

Catalonia's president, Carles Puigdemont, has pleaded with the Spanish government to withdraw its police forces, while insisting that the referendum result is binding.