Violent clashes in Catalan city between riot police and “anti-fascists”

Regional leader Quim Torra orders changes to Mossos d’Esquadra over their response to a pro-Constitution tribute supported by Vox

Catalan police charge at protesters in Girona.Photo: atlas

The city of Girona was the site of violent clashes on Thursday between Catalan riot police and a group of pro-independence individuals who tried to break up a public tribute to the Spanish Constitution.

Protesters shout slogans against the demonstration.
Protesters shout slogans against the demonstration.JOSEP LAGO (AFP)

The tribute was held on Spain’s Constitution Day and attended by groups that defend the unity of Spain. Representatives of the far-right Vox party were present at the event, which drew a crowd of around 150 people.

Despite preventive measures rolled out hours earlier, the counter-demonstrators broke through the security lines and confronted officers of the Catalan police force, who were pelted with stones, chairs and other objects.

A total of 15 Mossos d’Esquadra officers and three activists were injured in the clashes. One arrest has been made.

Several hundred self-styled “anti-fascists” showed up at Plaza 1 de Octubre to try to break up the event, which had been organized by a group called Borbonia that defines itself as “a citizen movement made up of Girona residents who oppose the Catalan independence movement.” The far-right Vox party openly supported the tribute.

Pro-independence parties have criticized the Catalan interior chief Miquel Buch for the way the regional police force dealt with the counter-demonstrators.

A wounded man receives medical assistance following clashes between riot police and protesters.
A wounded man receives medical assistance following clashes between riot police and protesters.JOSEP LAGO (AFP)

Girona councilor Lluc Salellas, of the separatist CUP party, has demanded Buch’s resignation and accused the Catalan police of “assaulting anti-fascists.”

On Friday, Catalan premier Quim Torra gave Buch four days to make changes to the leadership of the Mossos d’Esquadra.

The head of the Mossos, Andreu Martínez, has stated that the police charges were “correct and adequate” to contain the counter-demonstrators and “to guarantee everybody’s right to demonstrate.”

There were also clashes in Terrassa, where the Mossos made three arrests and several people were injured. Around 2,000 people marched to support the Constitution in Barcelona, where no incidents were reported.

Pro-Spanish unity demonstrators in Girona.
Pro-Spanish unity demonstrators in Girona.©Toni Ferragut (EL PAÍS)

English version by Susana Urra.

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