At the Catalan referendum on October 1 2017 “there were no police charges” and on September 20 there were violent disturbances and whoever thinks differently lives in a “parallel reality” created by the media and pro-independence organizations. These were some of the arguments made by the former security secretary, José Antonio Nieto, when he was questioned at the referendum trial in the supreme court yesterday. Unlike Mariano Rajoy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría and Juan Ignacio Zoido, he took responsibility for his role in the operation to try to stop the referendum taking place. He said he made decisions as “coordinator” of the operation, “with the support of Zoido and other ministers”. He was the one who proposed the shipment of 6,000 Civil Guard and National Police officers to Catalonia, but according to him, “the minimum indispensable violence” was used against the voters and the officers’ performance was “exemplary”. He said he is not aware that anyone was struck above the waist, but in any case indicated that this is not “prohibited”. Nieto blamed the Catalan police force for not having done their job and remarked that if they had indicated “their willingness to comply with the judicial mandate, the referendum on October 1 would not have been celebrated, it would have been called off”.
“The story put about by the independence movement meant that the news was about the dog biting the man rather than the man biting the dog. Reality was turned on its head ... in this case, it was the police who were seen to be doing something wrong, when they were defending the law, and not those who were trying to break it” he said. He did have to admit however that no Spanish police officer was hospitalized or had to leave the operation to be treated in medical vehicles.