Home Affairs Minister says that "there is shared will of improvement" in the actions of the Catalan police

The Minister informs the trade unions of his willingness to discuss the review of the public order system

Nuria García Estella
3 min
The Mossos d'Esquadra, acting during the demonstration for the imprisonment of Pablo Hasel in Barcelona

A "positive, frank and sincere" meeting was held this Sunday between the Minister of the Home Affairs - Miquel Sàmper -, the commanders of the Mossos, and the nine Mossos unions, who had requested the encounter in order to demonstrate the extent to which the officers feel abandoned by the political team led by Miquel Sàmper.

After the meeting, which lasted about two hours, Sàmper has made an appearance without taking questions, where he assured that both parties share the will to improve the actions of the Mossos, which have been questioned following the week of demonstrations in favor of Pablo Hasél as well as concern about the existence of "extreme violence".

The Minister has explained that the unions have spoken to him about their discomfort towards his Wednesday appearance, in which he pointed to a police reform, and has insisted to them that he was referring to "a revision of the model of public security" but that in any case his will is to remove the police force from the political debate.

The meeting has been useful to bring positions closer and rebuild the broken bridges after a week in which the Mossos have received criticism, including from JxCAT - who lead the Home Affairs Department - and ERC, the other government partner, and have felt abandoned and questioned.

Hours before the meeting, urgently requested by the unions, Miquel Sàmper had already stated that the reform of the model of public order will be taken to Parliament and, as he said, has found a good harmony with the Mossos, who understand that the police "must exercise what the community wants" and now there will be 82 MPs (pro-independence and comuns) who want to open the debate to address the changes. "This debate is possible and necessary", said Sàmper at the hearing.

A controversial performance

In statements to RAC1, the minister referred to the controversial encapsulation of demonstrators by the Catalan police in Carrer Gran de Gràcia. "What I am told is that they were allegedly trying to do what was happening in Passeig de Gràcia, acts of vandalism and looting, and they tried to disperse them. There were four or five Brimo vans, they were pressured to keep going up and apparently they stopped. I don't have any more information but for a minute there was a use of force. What I have asked and what I have been told is that there were no injuries", said Sàmper, who was clear when he said that this type of image "never pleases".

However, from Sanitaris per la República they deny Sàmper's the words and ensure that the police action did leave injured by blows of truncheon and foam bullets. From the center Irídia they already denounced yesterday that the demonstrators were put in danger because the agents cornered them and provoked unnecessary rushes.

"I want to highlight the evolution of the people who started these demonstrations towards vandalism and looting. These people who were in Gran de Gràcia were people who came from these recent events, not from a demonstration. They had a street to go ahead, I think on the right, and it seems that they stopped. But I don't like these images, of course I don't like them", he added.

Miquel Sàmper, Home Affairs Minister, during the interview at RAC1

The Minister of Home Affairs has said that he cannot "be satisfied" with the interventions when "ugly things" have happened. "I'm not happy because we are in a horrible week in terms of violence, because there is a girl seriously injured who until Tuesday had one life and now she has another. We have to continue with the investigation that we opened when this injury became known, do it quickly and transparently. When it is closed, this girl will have all the information she needs".

38 arrested on fifth day of protests

In the last protest in support of Pablo Hasél, yesterday, Saturday, in which in the Catalan capital there was looting of shops and vandalism in the streets, the police arrested 38 people: 35 in Barcelona, two in Tarragona and one in Lleida. Of those arrested, 16 were minors: 13 in Barcelona and all those arrested in Tarragona and Lleida.