A court in Spain has formally charged 22 Spanish riot police officers with causing serious harm to a man when they fired rubber bullets at protesters in Barcelona.
Judge Josep Majo, who is leading the investigation, has filed charges of grievous bodily harm against the officers, who are accused of injuring the man during a general strike on March 29, 2012. Judicial sources say the protester was forced to have his arm amputated as a consequence of the shooting incident. During the general strike of March 2012, police fired rubber bullets at the crowd, causing at least five people to be hospitalized. According to reports, two of the protesters lost an eye, two others were treated for injuries to their arms and a fifth reported rib fractures and a perforated lung. This case is one of several similar probes launched by Spanish prosecutors involving people who have been injured by rubber bullets while protesting. The most notable incident occurred during a separate demonstration in Barcelona on November 14, 2012, when protester Ester Quintana lost an eye after being wounded by a rubber bullet. Under Spain’s local police protocol, officers are not allowed to fire directly against protesters, since the speed of the rubber bullet exceeds 700 km/h. However, video recording of the incident show three agents, who appeared to be firing straight at the crowds. During recent years, Spaniards have held numerous strikes and protests against the government imposed austerity measures that are particularly targeting the middle and working classes. Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs.