A high-ranking leader of the leftist Unidos Podemos coalition was struck with a bottle by far-right protesters as she exited the building holding a meeting of the group in Zaragoza, Spain.
President of Cortes de Aragon Violeta Barba was attacked by a violent crowd of right-wing nationalist gathered outside the gates of the XXI Century Pavilion where Unidos Podemos lawmakers were meeting in order to organize a plan of action to counter the strong “anti-democratic offensive” of the Spanish government against the Catalan independence referendum slated for Oct. 1.
Waving Spain's flag and banners picturing former dictator Francisco Franco, the crowd grew from 20 to hundreds as the morning progressed, shouting insults and threats to party members as they made their way into the meeting.
According to sources, the Barba had left the safety of the building in order to request a stronger police presence when out of the crowd a bottle “filled with hard plastic” shot through the air, striking the official in the chest.
Barba reassured supporters in a statement from her Twitter account, saying she was well despite the attack.
“Thank you for the concern, I am well. I will continue defending democracy and liberty with a smile,” she wrote.
The president was not the only diplomat to experience abuse from the fiercely nationalist crowd, with other diplomats, journalists, party members and activists sharing in the onslaught of criticism.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias was forced to enter the convention through another door in order to avoid the rioting crowd. United Left leader Alberto Garzon took to Twitter, saying his assistants were stuck in the building due to the lack of police security.
“We remain the same. 400 public servants surrounded by Nazis and we can not leave. The ministry continues to provide no solution,” the activist wrote, adding three hours later, "We are coming out now organized into large groups to ensure that people can return home safely."
It's uncertain whether Barba will file a complaint about the attack, she stated her main priority is to guarantee the safety of all those who are currently trapped inside the building.
Así que nada, estamos rodeados de nazis por defender la democracia y no podemos salir porque el Estado no tiene efectivos. Genial.— Alberto Garzón (@agarzon) September 24, 2017
“We remain the same. 400 public servants surrounded by Nazis and we can not leave. The ministry continues to provide no solution."
The fascists are trying to stop the referendum, which Catalan lawmakers have approved and Catalans want to see happen once and for all. The government in Madrid has vowed to stop the plebiscite, raiding offices and arresting Catalan leaders.
Around 40,000 Catalans protested Thursday against the arrest of 14 leaders, which included some high-ranking regional officials.
The Oct. 2 referendum vote will determine if the autonomous province of Catalonia will separate from Spain and become its own sovereign nation.