Crowds took to the streets on Saturday to stage a counter-protest against a demonstration in support of the Spanish national police (Policia Nacional) and Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) in Barcelona. The latter two were involved in a violent crackdown during last year’s independence referendum in Catalonia.
A video circulating on social media shows law enforcement forcefully pushing the crowd back. An officer is also seen hitting someone with his baton. Notably, the police units deployed during the Thursday protest included both, the regional Catalan police (Mossos) as well the national police.
The unrest comes just ahead of the anniversary of the Catalan independence referendum, which took place on October 1, 2017. The vote was marred by multiple scenes of police violence against voters, leaving nearly 900 people injured. The police brutality was condemned by multiple officials and rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch.