THEY were the heroes of the August 2017 terror attacks in Barcelona and were lauded for their softly-softly approach during the independence referendum, but yesterday Catalonia’s police force – Mossos d’Esquadra – were under investigation after they clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators.

Protests against political rallies organised by the far-right Vox party to mark yesterday’s 40th anniversary of Spain’s constitution were held in the cities of Girona and Terrassa.

However, the usually peaceful demonstrations turned nasty when police rushed at the protesters.

Videos and pictures were widely posted on social media showing Mossos officers charging into them with batons and firing rubber bullets at them.

The National:

One 18-year-old man, speaking to The National from an A&E department in Terrassa, said around 20 injured protesters attended hospital in the city.

“Around 1000 of us had gathered in Terrassa to protest at Vox and the Mossos just charged into us and hit us with batons without any warning,” he said. “I was hit on the face and some of my friends were also hurt.”

Catalan Interior Minister, Miquel Buch, has admitted that some officers had “gone too far” and, if necessary would be sacked.

READ MORE: Catalan ex-minister Turull signs living will amid hunger strike

In a series of radio interviews yesterday, he said of the police: “Some actions did not follow the protocol.

“I am an anti-fascist and I will protest whenever it is required, but I am not violent.

“None of this is a part of the pro-independence movement, which has always demonstrated peacefully.”

Maria Sirvent, an MP from the left-wing and pro-independence CUP, was injured by a rubber bullet, but Buch denied she had been targeted by the Mossos, whose officers were “a democratic police force”.

Catalan President Quim Torra has given Buch a matter of days to review internal protocols and come up with new guidelines to ensure there is no repeat of Thursday’s scenes.

The pair will discuss the issue tomorrow.

Torra, meanwhile, has said he will fast for 48 hours in the coming days in solidarity with political prisoners who are on hunger strike.

Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Turull are ending their first week without food, while Quim Forn and Josep Rull are into the fourth day of their hunger strike.

A 24-hour fast involving around 20 Catalan politicians ended yesterday and similar protests will be held in the coming week.

One of the prisoners, former interior minister, Forn, tweeted: “Heartfelt thanks for your support. Thanks to everyone and all that all over the country do things, concentrations, fasts ... in solidarity with the #vagadefam. Thanks for not faltering and be on our side.

“Freedom is to feel the other side and know that we are not alone.”