Spanish minister tells BBC that police violence was ‘fake news’, but 155 videos suggest otherwise [VIDEO]

Fake news discussed on Andrew Marr Show
Tom Coburg

BBC host Andrew Marr interviewed Spain’s Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, on his show on 22 October. He asked the minister about the police violence that took place in Catalonia during its recent independence referendum. And astonishingly, Dastis responded by suggesting that much of it was “fake news”. But over 150 videos of police violence in different locations, along with a report by Human Rights Watch, show just how absurd that suggestion is.

“Fake news”?

Dastis told Marr:

I don’t think there is any brutal situation… Many of those pictures have been proven to be fake pictures.

Marr responded with an incredulous “Really?”, as his show passed footage of police attacking citizens. But Dastis stuck to his claims, arguing that, where there were instances of police violence, that was due to ‘provocation’. He said:

I’m not saying that all are fake pictures, but some of them are… There have been a lot of alternative facts and fake news here… If there was at all – and according to the pictures there was – some use of force, it was not a deliberate use of force. It was a provoked use of force.

So for Dastis, it seems any force used was either accidental or the fault of the victims.

The videos that suggest Dastis is wrong

There is now a compilation of 155 videos (at the time of writing) of police violence on the day of Catalonia’s independence referendum. This includes footage from the mainstream media (such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, and Catalonia’s TV3); as well as videos uploaded by citizens.

Here are just three from that compilation:

The entire collection can be found here.

Catalonia’s Health Department also said [Catalan] on 2 October that 893 people had reported injuries in connection with police actions. But in the immediate aftermath of the violence, Spain’s King Felipe VI did not mention any of it in a television address. And if Dastis needs further proof of police violence, he only needs to see a damning report which Human Rights Watch released after the referendum.

Ongoing tensions

Now, Madrid is reportedly planning to take control of Catalonia’s public television network – TV3. And following Saturday 21 October’s massive demonstration in Barcelona in opposition to the Spanish government’s plans, several thousand people took to the streets in Bilbao to show solidarity with the Catalan people. Bilbao is in the Basque Country, another region in Spain which has long had a strong independence movement.

Meanwhile, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s rejection of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s plan to sack the Catalan government, and for Catalonia to come under the direct rule of Madrid, means the stalemate continues. And over the coming days, the Parliament of Catalonia is expected to debate whether or not to declare independence.

Catalonia, with its revolutionary past, is now at a crossroads. And its potential independence could mean the end of Spain as a viable nation state.

No wonder Madrid is desperate to label police violence as “fake news”.

Get Involved!

– Read more about Spain and Catalonia at The Canary Global.

– Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more independent global coverage.

Join The Canary so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via screengrab

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed