WOULD-be voters in Catalonia have told a court how Spanish police officers beat and kicked people as they tried to cast their ballot, even when they were on the ground.

The trial of Catalan leaders at the Supreme Court in Madrid heard the police conduct was “very violent”, despite the voters’ “peaceful” nature.

Albert Salvadó, who was at a school being used as a polling station in Sabadell, said voters raised their hands, saying “we only want to vote”.

READ MORE: Spanish election: Catalan pro-independence parties win big

He said he went to cast his ballot because “it was the most important day of my life”, as civil guards wearing riot gear tried to break up the crowd of around 300.

“The first officers brought people out without violence, but they were forceful. After that, more police arrived, who exercised explicit violence. I saw several friends with shirts destroyed with blood.

“The police, as they pushed us, hit us [around] the liver area and higher … I remember perfectly the noise of the batons when they burst a head.”

Santi Valls, who was at the same polling station, said police were violently shoving people who were in front of the school. He said: “I saw things I could never have imagined, blows, people pulled by the hair … pulled to the ground; there were very violent gestures. The only blows I saw were from the police to the people ... I received some stitches.”

CatSalut, the Catalan health authority, previously said 1066 people had received medical attention for injuries sustained on the day of the referendum.

Jordi Salvador, a member of the Republican Left (ERC) and a member of the Spanish congress, said he was beaten by police and witnessed people being dragged by the hair and beaten.

“I have been to many demonstrations and three general strikes and I have never seen such an action,” he said.

Juli Fernández, Sabadell’s deputy mayor, said he was in the crowd of voters when an officer pushed him to the ground and dragged him, hurting his back

“In front of me, there was a man removed by punching him in the back and dragging him by his hair ... I received a blow to the left cheek ... I fell to the ground and was dragged away by four officers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Catalonia’s government has called on Socialist party boss Pedro Sanchez to reopen dialogue with pre-conditions on either side.

The call from spokesperson Meritxell Budó came two days after Sanchez’s party won the Spanish election, which also saw pro-independence parties make big inroads in Catalonia.

Budó said: “It does not make sense for Catalonia and Spain to rule around each other. We will sit down at the table ... government to government, to talk about everything that needs to be understood without conditions for any of them.”

She then turned to the ruling by Spain’s electoral board to exclude the exiled former president Carles Puigdemont, and former ministers Clara Ponsati and Toni Comin, from the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) list for the European elections, saying government members were “outraged”.

She said: “All members of the government expressed this indignation ... a constitutionalist professor, Joaquín Urías, called it an ‘undemocratic sacramental’ … a very graphic description of what the Central Electoral Board did.”

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who fought Ponsati’s extradition battle in Scotland, described it as “the shame of Spain”.

The resolution forced JxCat to appoint provisional substitutes for their list in the European poll while they prepare an appeal – lawyer Gonzalo Boye, former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias and journalist Beatriz Talegón.