Catalan referendum: "Police broke my fingers one by one and touched my breasts"

A woman claims police broke her fingers ‘one by one’ and sexually assaulted her during riots at the unofficial referendum in Catalonia yesterday.

Footage of Marta Torrecillas was released today, which showed her being dragged away from a polling station in Eixample by Spanish police.

The video shows Torrecillas’ dress rising up as she is pulled on the floor, and she later claimed that officers had touched her breasts.

Writing in a Whatsapp message to a friend that was released to police after the incident, she wrote: “I was defending elderly people with open arms. That’s all I was doing, defending elderly people because they hit children and the elderly.

An injured man is taken into an ambulance near a school assigned to be a polling station. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

“They got hold of me and threw me down the stairs and threw things at me. They broke my fingers deliberately, one by one.”

The footage, recorded at Paul Claris School, shows officers in full body armour forcibly moving the young woman away.

“Halfway down the stairs, with my clothes up,” Torrecillas continued, “they touched my breasts while they laughed and hit me.

“They have broken the fingers on my hand one by one deliberately. That is real evil, real evil.”


El Policia Nacional que li ha petat els dits a la Marta Torrecillas es el Agent numero 4U21. Surt al video. Que no quedi sense castic!

— Nenúfar (@gea____) October 1, 2017

Aside Torrecillas, an estimated 843 people, including 33 police officers, required medical attention following yesterday’s referendum.

A 70-year-old man suffered a heart attack and a younger man was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet.

Spanish National Police tries to dislodge pro-referendum supporters sitting down on a street in Barcelona. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

In what has been considered Spain’s largest political crisis in decades, the result claimed more than 90% of voters (2,020,144 people) called for independence.

However, those against the Catalonia referendum were thought to boycott the vote, suggesting a ‘leave’ result was a given.

Regional government spokesman, Jordi Turull, said 15,000 votes were still due to be counted but that the figures would remain provisional due to police-seized ballot boxes.

It’s thought that around 770,000 votes are now inaccessible or lost due to the seizes.

Spanish riot police removes fences thrown to them as one aims his rubber bullet rifle as they try to prevent people from reaching a voting site at a school assigned to be a polling station. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted the referendum was illegal and said Catalans had been “fooled” into taking part in the referendum.

In response to claims of police brutality, he said his forces had acted “with firmness and serenity.”

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said in a televised statement that the EU could “no longer continue to look the other way.”

A protester falls on the ground after being hit in the face by a rubber bullet shot by Spanish National Police near the Ramon Llull school. AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

“With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic.” Mr Puigdemont said.

“My government in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum.”

Catalan legislation says a ‘yes’ result must be followed by a declaration of independence within two days.

But Mr Puigdemont pointed out a unilateral declaration of independence was not an option – and Madrid will not recognise the referendum result.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (R) and other regional government members stand with people in Plaza Sant Jaume. (Reuters)

Although the referendum itself has not been recognised, there is potential for the region to receive more autonomy.

Tomorrow, 3 October, the inhabitants of Catalonia will go on strike.

On Wednesday, 4 October, the Generalitat of Catalonia will meet to discuss the future of the state.


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