Last Thursday, 26th of January, around noon, a Catalan lawyer was beaten by a pair of guardia civiles at the Barcelona airport for speaking Catalan to one of them. The Guardia Civil force, with ties to the Spanish army, acts as a kind of interregional anti-crime, traffic, and customs police force. It has an infamous history in Catalonia and Spain.
As the unidentified lawyer was getting ready to go through airport security on his routine Barcelona-Madrid flight, a person working for the airport security company Prosegur asked him to remove his belt, at which point the lawyer began to protest, because the machine “hadn't beeped.” A guardia civil standing right next to the scene approached the lawyer and asked “Do you have a problem with the Prosegur guard?” The lawyer began to explain that everything was OK, when the guardia civil cut him short: “I can't understand. Speak to me in Spanish.”
|The Guardia Civil Force at the Barcelona Airport|
The lawyer refused to speak in Spanish “because of the way he'd asked me,” and continued speaking to the guardia civil in Catalan. At that point, the guardia civil, said “you're going to miss your flight.” Then he, with another guardia civil accompanying him, brought the lawyer into a small, windowless room, where the first guardia civil beat the lawyer, while the second one just watched. This in spite of the fact that by then the lawyer had already switched to Spanish, trying to appease the guardia civil.
Inside of the room, the first guardia civil hit the lawyer with a hard object on his leg. Then he beat him repeatedly on the head with his open hand (so as not to leave any marks). All the while, the guardia civil kept saying things like "motherfucking Pole" (polaco de mierda, a typical insult used by Spaniards against Catalans). Again, the second guardia civil did nothing.
After they let him go, the lawyer called the local Catalan police station at the airport to report the incident and file a formal complaint. He intends to go further and sue the two guardia civils for their assault. The doctor's report on his injuries mentions “brusing and swelling on the side of the thigh, hurting to the touch, plus pain to the touch on the left side of the neck.”
We at Help Catalonia wish to denounce this occurrence, and the fact that things like this still happen in modern-age Spain, as they have been happening for the last 300 years since Catalonia was invaded by Spain.