Guardia Civil forged a witness statement to the demonstrations on International Women’s Day

In March, the trade union CGT cancelled one of their demonstrations, but not due to sanitary reason as a report by the Guardia Civil stated. As it turned out, they had forged the witness statements to match the complaints of the spanish opposition. Prior to this incident, the Spanish Minister of the Interior had sacked the Number 2 of the Guradia Civil.

Diego Pérez de los Cobos taking the oath of office in 2018
Cristina Cifuentes/CC BY-SA 2.0

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Spain, right-wing politicians have tried to make a connection between the high number of infected people and the well-attended demonstrations on International Women’s Day. This is currently even being dealt with in court, as government officials are accused of approving the demonstrations while other events were banned or prevented. Especially the extreme right-wing party Vox had sharply criticized the government. On the same day, it held a party conference with about 10,000 people. A few days later it became known that some high-ranking party members tested positive for COVID-19.

At the beginning of the week, the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska (PSOE), announced that the head of the Guardia Civil in Madrid, Diego Pérez de los Cobos, had been removed from office. This was a “remodelling” of the personnel. This decision was strongly criticised by the opposition. Vox announced a lawsuit against the government. The conservative Partido Popular (PP) called for Grande-Marlaska’s immediate resignation because his decision was “one of the most serious interventions in the independence of the judiciary in recent years”. The operational director of the Guardia Civil, Laurentino Ceña, resigned from his post in protest.

Shortly afterwards, it became known that statements made by a witness during the judicial investigation into the demonstrations on 8 March had been falsified by the Civil Guard. The report presented by the police spoke of the cancellation of a demonstration by the CGT union due to COVID-19, which was scheduled for 10 March. However, the union gave other reasons for the cancellation on 6 March. “It was suspended because it was better to consider another date closer to the process that was to take place at the end of March for the dismissal,” said the CGT.

However, the dismissal of Pérez de los Cobos is not linked to the current incidents in the court, Grande-Marlaska said. In the same press conference, he announced a pay rise for the Civil Guard – probably to prevent a rebellion.