A Spanish Guardia Civil police officer speaking at the independence trial compared the protests in favor of the 2017 Catalan referendum to the Basque conflict at a time when the terrorist group ETA was active. The officer, who withheld his name, testified on Day 20 of the proceedings as witness to the protests during a raid in a warehouse in Bigues i Riells, where nearly ten million ballot papers for the referendum were confiscated. “The officers who lived through the Basque conflict told me its beginnings were similar to [the September 2017 Catalan pro-referendum protests]. The people, the faces of hatred…”. Yet he admitted he had never worked on any operation in the Basque Country during the ETA years and didn’t mention the 1.300 who died.

“It was normal to be scared, people were furious,” he added on the September 19, 2017 protests. “[Protesters] told us ‘we are going to kill you’,” he added in his testimony. “They had extreme hatred against us, they spat on us, threw water on us…”. Yet when asked by defense lawyers about whether any footage of the day included the death threats, he responded: “Not that I remember.” He also admitted at the defenses’ request that no police officers were injured that day.

One of his colleagues, also testifying on Day 20 of the trial, said of a raid in a postal service warehouse the same month that “some 500 protesters” were “yelling” at the agents and “insulting” them. “For the first time in my professional career I saw the reflection of hatred,” he said. Both he and another police officer stated that vehicles with thousands of referendum-related letters confiscated ended up in a street still under construction, which they defined as a “mousetrap.”