SPANISH Civil Guard officers have denied that they or their colleagues hit any protesters with riot batons during the Catalan referendum campaign.

Hours of footage of police beating would-be voters has been circulating widely on social media since the October 2017 poll, but one officer told Spain’s Supreme Court: “I didn’t see any police officer using batons against protesters.”

Another qualified his denial: “None of my colleagues hit any protester who remained peaceful.”

Others, who have been giving evidence anonymously, said they had been victims of crowd violence and several said they were injured.

One, who was deployed to the town of Dosrius, said: “When I arrived, we were expected to open a safety corridor. Hundreds of people had a violent and aggressive attitude. I was hit a lot of times.”

Questioned by lawyer Jordi Pina, representing Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, a Civil Guard sergeant said they did not throw anyone on the ground, but added: “Maybe someone fell in front of our presence, but did not take anyone to the ground.”

Pina said there was a video of that event, but Judge Manuel Marchena overruled him: “Mr Pina, we can make you testify instead of the witness… we better leave it.”

The lawyer has presented a new petition seeking provisional freedom for Sanchez, who is standing in the Spanish General Election on April 28. Lawyers for Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva have made a similar request and propose house arrest to show they will not abscond.