Corrugated bearings collected by anti-riot police and metal skewer hole in the sheet of a van of the National Police. Both photos are from Thursday, October 17 (more pictures inside link)
Juan José Fernández
Madrid – Sunday, 10/20/2019 – 20:05
The steel bearing has become the ‘weapon’ of the radicals that most worries the members of the police reinforcement contingent sent by the Department of Interior to Catalonia for the protection of state buildings and as help for the Mossos d’Esquadra.
And the riot mossos share this concern, according to sources of the operation, as three of their agents have been injured in different ways due to the impact of these steel balls after crossing their shields, sources from the Catalan police say.
In radio communications from the vans deployed during these past nights in Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona, and also in the action reports submitted by the heads of each group upon return of the police to their bases after an early morning of riots, the metal ball shot with powerful slingshots increasingly appears. So powerful that, at the headquarters of the National Police Headquarters in Barcelona’s Via Laietana, one of those balls went through the double protective glass of a first floor window on Thursday.
An anti-riot police officer lost consciousness in Barcelona after being hit by a blunt object in his head, on October 18.
Mossos of the Mobile Brigade and members of the Intervention Units of the National Police report the use by embossed protesters of steel balls previously grooved with a circular sow, or directly with the groove made at the factory.
“They use them this way because they hold on better to the slingshot rubber. The smooth ones are harder to sustain, and even more so when shooting in a hurry”, explains a group leader in the anti-riot police of the Ministry of Interior. The same source assures that, on occasion, some of the shooters “stand behind other protesters so that they are not seen from the front”.
The members of the joint anti-riot teams were surprised on Thursday night at the appearance, after dissolving a violent group on Via Laietana, of a bag full of these balls, “by way of ammunition”.
Interior sources confirm that “the shooting” of these balls has a great power of penetration in the defenses of the police. Its use, which was frequent in the disturbances of Asturias, Cantabria and Euskadi during the industrial reconversion of the 80s, was not reported until now in the Catalan mobilizations. More modernly, resorting to “shooting” with bearings is classic in anti-system riots in France and Italy.
In Catalonia, it is now also used to shoot at judicial headquarters, as happened on Friday night in the courts of Girona, one of the objectives set by the radicals after the arrest and putting on remand of some sabotage participants.
The impacts of rubble and bearings made a hole in a window of the Courts of Girona, during the riots of Friday night October 18.
The judge of the National Court Manuel García Castellón investigates these attacks under the supposed criminal figure of terrorism. A member of the National Police Intervention Units has been hospitalized, according to various police sources, after his helmet was pierced by a solid object.
The UIP groups of the National Police (each one is made up of 50 agents) are also informing their coordinators of the use of iron spikes by the anti-system radicals, with the ability to pierce the van plates.
Analysts of the Civil Guard Information Service also examine these days the frequency with which, in supposedly coordinated attacks by groups of protesters against anti-riot units, at least one of the group’s radicals pulls a short knife with which to try to puncture the wheels of the vans in which police officers move.
Radicalsl tried to prick with a knife the wheel of a van of the Mobile Brigade of the Mossos d’Esquadra on the night of October 16 in Barcelona.
Among the rest of the “arsenal” described in the agents’ communications, the well-known rubble, soda cans filled with sand, empty bottles, bottles with acid or etching inside, all kinds of metal bars and pieces of street furniture, large nuts, links of bicycle and motorcycle chains, flares, pyrotechnic rockets and firecrackers of the “thunder” model, very common in the Fallas de Valencia and available to the non-specialized public.
Gasoline and oil
Fire is the other major element of the nights with disturbances in Barcelona. The old Molotov cocktails have returned, renewed with the use of oil, “so that they do not explode in the hand of those who throw it”, explains a Barcelona intermediate command of the Generalidad Firefighters.
The sources of Firefighters consulted believe that, in the rapid and repeated container fires, a mixture of gasoline and automotive mineral oil is used, or in other cases paraffin and kerosene heating, as well as pyrotechnic fuses. Police sources of the Ministry of Interior operation agree on the description of the first recipe.
The same sources refer to a side effect of the wheel fires that the CDRs cause to cut roads: “The burned material reaches high temperatures, and deteriorates the tar. The asphalt will have to be repaired”.