The Catalonia’s law enforcement agencies will not obey the single coordinator appointed by Spain ahead of the October 1 independence referendum, region’s Home Affairs Minister Joaquim Forn said on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Catalonia’s chief prosecutor Jose Maria de Tejada informed the heads of the Catalan division of the Civil Guard and the National Police, as well as Josep Lluis Trapero Alvarez, the head of the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police, that from today, they come under the management of Madrid and were to report to Col. Diego Perez de los Cobos of the Spanish Civil Guard. According to the order, Col. de los Cobos will be holding meetings to “plan and coordinate” the actions of law enforcement agencies, but has to report to the Prosecutor’s Office.
“Mossos de Esquadra and the Ministry of Home Affairs of Catalonia do not agree with the control of police units in Catalonia. We state that the country is interfering in the work of police units of Catalonia. Catalonia already has agencies responsible for coordination of actions,” Forn wrote on Facebook and Twitter.
On Wednesday, Spain’s Civil Guard detained over 10 people in a raid related to the preparations for the independence vote. Dozens of searches were also held in a number of governmental institutions, including Catalonia’s Generalitat (government). The actions triggered protests that continue today, with several thousands of students having gathered in the building of the University of Barcelona late on Friday. The students held rallies and manifestations there demanding the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.
The organizers of the Friday event had read the manifesto saying that the “the referendum scheduled for October 1 cannot be stopped” as it was the only way toward democracy.
On September 6, Catalonia’s Parliament passed a bill enabling the independence referendum to be held on October 1. Madrid called the bill illegal and challenged it in the Constitutional Court. The next day, the Constitutional Court accepted the lawsuit for review, which means suspension of the legislation.