Catalan citizens and voters in the 2017 referendum are giving their testimonies this week in Madrid’s Supreme Court. They were called to the court by the defense of Jordi Sànchez and Quim Forn, and told the court about their experiences of Spanish police aggression on the day of the vote.

Pere Font (picture), an elderly man from Barcelona, described how police officers grabbed him by the testicles and threw him to the ground. Font then protested at this treatment, to which a police officer, according to Font, replied: “We were sent here to do this.” Following this, Font says he was then punched in the face by a female police officer.

Activist reveals identity

The day began with the testimony of Joan Porras, a well-known political activist in Catalonia. He is known for having visited the jailed Catalan leaders every day to wish them good night while they were imprisoned in the Lledoners penitentiary center. His testimony was the first time he revealed his face to the public.

Porras said that in his voting station in Manresa, Catalan police arrived to confiscate referendum material and ballot boxes. The witness said they did so without causing any damage or injuring people.

Dosrius voters

Also testifying today were a number of citizens who voted in the town of Dosrius. They spoke about what they saw when the Spanish police arrived to carry out their operations.

One witness described how the police began by throwing the women to the floor first, out of all of the voters that were gathered in the polling station. Virginia Martínez, a voter in Dosrius, said she broke down in tears when a police officer threw her to the ground and grabbed her bag from her shoulder. Martínez also told the court a police officer filmed her crying, insulting her saying that she was acting “ridiculously,” and called her a “retard.”

Carme Budé, also from Dosrius, said she knew the referendum had been suspended, but that said she believes “voting is the essence of democracy.” She also spoke about tension in her town leading up to the day of the vote, pointing out that people were waking up to news of arrests of leaders many days.

All of days 40, 41, and 42 of the Catalan trial have been reserved for 50 testimonies of Catalan voters.