AN officer from Spain’s Guardia Civil has claimed that raids on Catalan Government offices 10 days before the October 2017 referendum revealed documents referring to “war” and “guerrilla” scenarios and “the ways to survive them”.

The officer was one of dozens who have now started to give evidence at the trial of 12 Catalan leaders for their role in the referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

All are being hidden from cameras in the courtroom and are being identified only by alpha-numeric code-names, such as TIP P35979V.

The officer said that in a raid on the home and economy ministry office of former Catalan finance secretary Lluís Salvadó, they found “documents related to the ‘disconnection’ of Catalonia” and others which detailed “possible scenarios after the referendum”.

He said the war and guerrilla references related to “Spain’s possible legal and financial responses” to the independence bid.

“Mr Salvadó was arrested because he was believed to be developing state structures related to setting up a Catalan tax office,” said the officer, who told the court that he heard Salvadó telling his secretary by phone to throw documents from a meeting room into a backyard.

The officer denied that the rallies outside the government buildings on September 20 were “festive”, and described them instead as “a siege of the economy and foreign affairs ministries”.

He said he and fellow officers were verbally insulted by people outside, but had no problems leaving the area, although not without threats: “I went down the street a few steps and the comments went from insults to death threats.”

The officer in charge of the raid on the foreign affairs ministry described the protesters as displaying “uncontrolled rage”.

Of one, he said: “His face was not normal. He displayed a lot of rage and violence.”

The senior officer went on to describe how hundreds of people crowded around police vehicles outside the offices, striking them and smashing their windscreens as the local police [Mossos d’Esquadra] looked on.

Another officer told the court that a request to the Mossos for reinforcements, as he was trying to evacuate a legal secretary, was refused.

He said: “I ask if he could call for reinforcements. He says no, because the units are in other places and cannot be here.”

The officer said that when he got into a car outside the building, the crowd surrounded it and climbed over it.

“They hit the car all over, doors, ceiling ... there were people stretched all over the hood of the vehicle, caught in the windshield wipers. The blows were so great that they even broke a window of the vehicle.”

The guard described the behaviour of the crowd as “uncontrolled rage”.

This evidence from the Civil Guard officers is a particularly crucial part of the Spanish prosecutors’ reasoning for charging two pro-independence grassroots leaders – Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez – with sedition and rebellion, which could land each of them with a 17-year jail term.

The raids on government buildings, along with others on private company offices and homes, were aimed at disrupting the logistics for the indyref.

Meanwhile, Catalan President Quim Torra last night defied a further 24-hour deadline from the Central Electoral Board (JEC) to remove yellow ribbons – a sign of solidarity with those on trial and in exile – from government buildings.

He has been warned he could face criminal charges and a fine of up to €3000 (£2500).

Torra has now resisted two deadlines and last night said the order was impossible to comply with because of the large number of buildings which were part of the administration.

He said: “Some are managed by public companies or instrumental entities that are part of the public sector of the [Catalan Government] Generalitat.

“Others are ceded to private companies that provide public services, to consortiums, foundations, associations, social entities ... They are centres with functional autonomy, such as research centres, hospitals and primary care centres, universities, educational institutes, schools, youth centres.”

He and his cabinet have asked the Catalan ombudsman, Rafael Ribo, to compile a report into the implications of the ruling on freedom of expression before they take any final decision.

Elsa Artadi, the Catalan Government spokesperson, said keeping the ribbons in the Generalitat Palace was Torra’s decision, while his ministers had decided to follow the same criteria in their own departments.