Yes you can remove them with a wide bladed wood chisel. The first one is the most difficult then once a space has become void you can attack the others from that one void. Wear eye and face protection. Stuff flies when doing this.
Painting is another story. You can but you have allot of work to do to rid the surface of that residue. Scraping and sanding will do that, but its not easy. I would suggest to go back with some more user friendly tile again.
Ugl makes some good cement prep paint for a primer before painting.