CATALONIA’s Parliament is to launch an investigation into potential “criminal or irregular” activities of the Spanish royal family after the October 2017 referendum.

MPs voted yesterday to set up a committee to examine the actions of people linked to the monarchy, including those aimed at “forcing the transfer of the registered office of banks, large companies and multinationals outside Catalonia” after the poll.

The move followed a parliamentary motion to abolish the monarchy entirely in response to King Felipe’s role during the independence bid, when he launched an attack on the Catalan Government, accusing it of “breaking democratic principles” and trying to break up Spain.

Spain’s central government responded to that with a threat of legal measures.

Opinion polls have shown Felipe’s popularity on the wane in Catalonia, with a score of 1.8 out of 10 and 60% of Catalans rating him with a zero.

The committee bid came as the head of Spain’s National Police in Catalonia told the trial of 12 indy activists that most people encountered by his officers during the referendum showed “highly violent” behaviour.

Sebastian Trapote said some of the deployed officers were forced to retreat “due to the violence of voters”.

He said: “Citizens gathered outside the schools to halt the police operation. Everything was perfectly organised. There were calls [to attend schools], they blockaded our way, made human chains, they attacked us, pushed us.”

Trapote said that after consultations between the coordinator of the operation and security minister Jose Antonio Nieto, he was told to enforce “plan B”, which mean replacing the Catalan police (Mossos d’Esquadra) in the operation to halt the poll.

He said his officers had given up an operation at one Barcelona school, being used as a polling station, because “it could cause serious injury to both officers and the public”.

Trapote added: “We wanted to guarantee the collective safety, but there comes a point where this is impossible and a minimum amount of force has to be deployed.”

During cross-examination by lawyer Jordi Pina, Trapote said his officers had fired rubber bullets in a “progressive and proportionate” use of force.

A magistrate investigating the case of activist Roger Espanol, who lost an eye when he was hit by one of the missiles, has not been able to identify who fired it.

Trapote responded: “Fortunately, we live in a democratic state where, if a citizen feels that his rights have been violated or have been violated, he can perfectly well file the corresponding complaint.”