Society 28/02/2021

Concern over riots and violence in protests against Hasél's imprisonment

Home Affairs Minister says "violence is rampant" and riot police are non-negotiable

Ara
3 min
A van of the Guardia Urbana of Barcelona is burned during the demonstration in Barcelona in favor of Pablo Hasel
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BarcelonaThe protests and riots following the demonstrations for the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél resumed last night in Barcelona after a few days of truce. The Catalan Police (Mossos d'Esquadra) arrested fourteen people and some protesters returned to vandalism and violence, which have caused the reaction of the acting president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès; the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the The protests and riots following the demonstrations for the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél resumed last night in Barcelona after a few days of truce. The Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) arrested fourteen people and some protesters returned to vandalism and violence, which have caused the reaction of the acting president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, among others. They condemned, above all, the burning of a van of the City Police (Guardia Urbana) in the Rambla with an agent inside, and the looting of different shops and banks in the city center. In the same way, the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, said that "the acts of vandalism and violence that Barcelona is suffering these days are unacceptable", and supported the different security forces.

This morning Colau visited the police station of the Guardia Urbana of Barcelona on the Rambla, where yesterday some protesters lit with flammable liquid and, after a device did not explode, set fire to a van of the force. "I want to convey the most absolute rejection of violence, which is never justified and can cause personal injury. There could have been a misfortune", said the mayor, in statements to the media, referring to the local policeman, who was able to get out of the burning vehicle safe and sound. She also explained that yesterday Aragonès, Sàmper and the spokesperson of the Government, Meritxell Budó, called her to support her and that they agreed on a meeting with the vice-president of the Generalitat and the different security bodies to study if more preventive measures can be taken in the face of the next demonstrations.

Sàmper remarks that the riot police is not negotiable

In full debate on which has to be the model of public order of the country, Sàmper, in interviews in Catalunya Ràdio and RAC1 radio stations, has said that "the violence is unbridled" and that for him, "personally", the dissolution of the riot police unit of the Mossos, the Brimo, is not negotiable. In spite of affirming that the model is "revisable", he defends that "it has to exist". He has also remarked that "practically all" of the people who go to the demonstrations that end in riots do so peacefully, but there are "150 or 200", to which "common criminals who want to loot" are added, which cause a "very negative cocktail". What these groups do, he said, is "pure and simple violence, unbridled, without limits, unheard of". In this sense, has warned that, if this Saturday the van of the Guardia Urbana had exploded, we would be speaking of "a death".

Of the fourteen arrested last night at least one is related to the burning of the van, according to the Mossos. Sàmper explained that he can be charged with "consummated" damage and public disorder and will have to see what approach the prosecution follows in this case, since "the attack on a person who is an authority is very complicated, it enters the scope of terrorism", with penalties that "can be important". The Minister has also called for a "calm" debate that is not made "in the context of negotiations to form a government", with the aim that "the country feels calm" and the Mossos can do "their job". In this sense, he has asked for Home Affairs "to be able to work with tranquility and peace", and has been convinced that in the negotiations to reach agreements between ERC, JxCat and the CUP, "sanity will prevail" to reach "meeting points" in which everyone feels "comfortable".

The Barcelona Hotel Guild demands "political responsibilities"

The Barcelona Hotel Guild has also condemned the latest episode of rioting in the city and has demanded that the "necessary" resources be put in place to "propitiate" their immediate end. The entity considers that the "passivity" of the administrations has deprived citizens and the business community of their right and their security guarantees. Thus, it has demanded "political responsibilities". "It is unacceptable that they do not show a firm and unequivocal stance against these facts and allow them to happen, and that they do not show unwavering support for the security forces", they added.

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