The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has condemned sexual violence perpetrated by the Spanish police during the banned Catalan independence referendum.
The mayor announced that she would bring charges against police officers not only for the use of excessive force but also for sexual abuse.
“We have received many statements from women who reported sexual violence,” Colau said, according to EuropaPress.
Colau said that the alleged acts of sexual abuse took place in the Barceloneta. She said that a young woman was also assaulted by the police in a college in Pau Claris. In this incident, the police allegedly broke the woman’s fingers on her right hand, while another touched her breasts and laughed at her.
The Interior Ministry has decided to pass on the charges to the attorney general’s office to be reviewed under Article 504.2 of the penal code.
Under this article, police officers and security forces can be punished with between 12 and 18 months in prison.
The Spanish government has come under attack for its aggressive response to the Catalan independence vote.
Over 840 people were injured in clashes with riot police.