Written by Staff Writer, CNN
The streets of Spain were hit by violent clashes between Spanish police and protesters on Thursday after a protest against police violence during the Catalan independence referendum saw dozens of people hurt.
“The police are beating people,” said an AFP reporter who witnessed the early evening clashes in Sant Julia de Ramis, a city in southern Spain near the Mediterranean coast.
Police baton-charged protesters, leaving many of them with head injuries, according to witnesses and a statement from the Spanish Interior Ministry. One national police officer was injured and was taken to hospital.
Radio stations and newspapers reported there were several hundred people protesting — with some of them shouting and throwing projectiles.
The scenes come three days after unarmed Catalan policemen were caught on camera firing rubber bullets and truncheons as police tried to suppress the referendum, which Spain’s Constitutional Court had declared illegal.
The polling stations were closed on Tuesday after Catalan authorities refused to comply with a court order to cease preparations for the vote.
In Caminito, on the outskirts of Barcelona, where AFP said clashes took place at about 8:30 p.m. local time, people, cars and the street were stained with blood, while graffiti calling for democracy and police brutality were scrawled on walls.
Tensions ran high across Spain after a member of the far-left Balearic Islands party, whose local leader was among the injured, called for protests across the country.
“The (Catalan) republicans should stay united and nothing should change (from) today’s actions,” said Juan Manuel Gysi.
He said rallies were planned for all of the Balearic Islands and eight other regions of Spain, which have a total population of around 9 million.
“I call on the fascist right wing in Spain to shut down everything, because all of us democrats have to stay united,” he said.