Catalan Activist Eye Blows Up As Cops Fire Rubber Bullet

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

A Catalan activist demonstrating at Barcelona airport against the jailing of pro-independence leaders suffered an exploded eyeball as cops fired rubber bullets.

The unnamed protester, 22, was injured during the police operation against demonstrations at Barcelona’s El Prat airport in the eastern Spanish region of Catalonia and has now been taken to the Bellvitge hospital to undergo urgent surgery.

Local media report doctors confirmed the man’s eyeball had ‘exploded’ and local newspaper El Pais report he has lost his eye. It is unclear which eye was affected.

Picture Credit: CEN/La Sexta

Reports state the injuries are compatible with an impact from a rubber bullet and the National Police have confirmed they fired rubber bullets in moments of high tension.

The Catalan government has previously banned the use of rubber bullets in the region but the ban only applies to the local Mossos d’Esquadra police force, not the National Police.

The emergency services attended 131 people on Monday during the protests against the Spanish Supreme Court sentencing nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison.

One hundred and fifteen were attended at Terminal 1 of the airport, 91 of them were released there, and 24 were taken to hospital.

The rest of those attended were in the city of Barcelona (eight people in total, one of whom was taken to hospital), Macanet de la Selva (four people in total, none hospitalised), three in Lleida (two taken to hospital) and one person in Reus who was not hospitalised.

Police sources reported that six national police officers and three officers of Mossos d’Esquadra were reportedly injured.

The Centre for the Defence of Human Rights (IRIDIA), at least six of the 131 injured during the police operation during the protests on Monday were injured by rubber bullets or foam projectiles.

The Mossos d’Esquadra reportedly used precision foam projectiles which can be aimed at specific targets to spread the protesters.

IRIDIA report that eight journalists covering the protests were injured.

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