Pérez de los Cobos: "The Mossos operative was designed to facilitate 1-O"The colonel who coordinated the police on the eve of the referendum states before the Supreme Court that they acted with an "exquisite use of proportionality" before a "degree of virulence" that surprised them
Pérez de los Cobos during his declaration at the Supreme Court
Colonel of the Guardia Civil Diego Pérez de los Cobos, who acted as police coordinator on October 1, testified at the Supreme Court trial stating that during October 1 he was surprised by the "degree of virulence" held by people in the schools, which included the use of "physical force".
"The first surprise was the inactivity of the Mossos (Catalan police), and the second one was the degree of virulence we had to face. In most of the sites there were mass groups, perfectly organized, who tried to prevent the access of security forces through the exercise of physical force."
Pérez de los Cobos considered that the Mossos d'Esquadra were passive:
"I think that the operative established at the headquarters of the Catalan police was aimed at facilitating the development of the consultation instead of preventing it."
In fact, he deemed the design of the police operative to be "a fraud".
According to his declaration, Pérez de los Cobos, described it as "insufficient, inadequate and ineffective":
"The generalized activity was passive, except in some cases, 10 or 11, in which the activity was much beyond passivity, and they tried to physically obstruct the actions of our very own police force, which lead to delicate situations."
The occupation of schools
Pérez de los Cobos has commented that the guidelines of the Catalan Police against October 1 served to indicate to the people what they should do to be able to eventually casting their vote:
"They should act, unless there was such a mass of citizens that would make it difficult, since they would always act with mediation and restraint in mind, and in no case would they use force.
Later on, we learned that this circumstance was known by the referendum convenors or by different social organizations to make a call for the schools, before 6 o'clock in the morning, to configure this scenario that the Catalan police had defined as the one that would make their intervention impossible."
"People hooded" on 1-O
As other witnesses did previously, the police coordinator of the 1-O referred to the "human walls" that were in the polling stations, and that even included "hooded people":
"It was a situation of greater severity than the one we anticipated. Within the human walls there were perfectly organized groups, there was a hierarchy, we also saw hooded people and people dedicated to warn everyone over the proximity of our arrival."
The colonel added that, in some cases, the agents backed off because of "the aggressiveness" that they were facing.
Pérez de los Cobos has referred to an agent assaulted "with a kick in the head". And he said that President Puigdemont's call to "defend the ballot box" made "the degree of virulence" increase "very considerably".
He also explained that there was no order to stop operations in schools.
"There were no charges"
He has also defined the performance of the police forces as "exquisite" and denied that there were any charges.
"There was no police charge." The concept of "police charge" is aimed at dissolving or evicting a site. These units, precisely because of this exquisite use of proportionality, avoided at all times getting to dislodge the sites, although, as I told before, the order they had empowered them to do that."
In addition, he highlighted that in some schools, elder people or children were used as "shields":
"In certain schools they placed children and the elderly as the vanguard of these parapets.
An agent of the Guardia Civil, when his unit arrived for the intervention, saw that a father was holding a small child of 3 or 4 years old. The father was in the line of action, and of course, police action was stopped. This agent of the Guardia Civil approached the father and asked him to stay away with the child, and there is footage of it. "
"Always difficult" relationship with Trapero
Pérez de los Cobos has reported in the Supreme Court that his relationship with Major Trapero was "always difficult" because he identified him as "an interference."
"He initially reacted by understanding it as an interference, as the establishment of a kind of authority over him." The Senior General Attorney clarified that this was not the case, that the operational command would be lead directly by him, but that since he ordered a joint action to the 3 police bodies, there had to be someone helping in coordination tasks, and he assigned me."
Pérez de las Cobos describe as an example of tension the fact that, in one of the meetings prior to October 1, Trapero delegated his presence to the commissioner Ferran López:
"The relationship was always difficult because, after the meeting on the 23rd, although I stated that a meeting was already called for the 25th and that the Court of Justice number 4 said that the people in charge of the 3 security bodies had to go to the meetings, Trapero did not show up for the meeting on the 25th, and sent Commissioner Ferran López."
The colonel added that Trapero also asked in writing to revoke his appointment.
The Security Board, "Kafkaesque", and "the golden opportunity" of Trapero
Pérez de las Cobos deemed as "Kafkaesque" the Security Board that the then President Puigdemont convened unilaterally before the referendum.
He has reproached that the only meeting's agenda was "surrealist" because he talked about coordinating devices for a referendum declared illegal.
The colonel has considered that Trapero lost a "golden opportunity" in this Security Board that would have led him to side with those who wanted to prevent the referendum:
"Despite having received the order that prevented him from holding the referendum, he showed up at the security committee and sat on the side of the Generalitat, when he had a golden opportunity not to attend. Besides, he had some interventions that were absolutely in the line of the organizers of the illegal activity that he had been ordered to prevent."
- Catalan independence trial