Spanish police arrest Catalan official over referendum

Guardia Civil operation on October 1 vote underway, with raids of government offices and HQ of pro-independence civic organization

The surroundings of Òmnium HQ cordoned off while the Guardia Civil raids its offices
The surroundings of Òmnium HQ cordoned off while the Guardia Civil raids its offices / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 15, 2018 10:21 AM

Spain’s Guardia Civil police arrested a high-ranking Catalan government official on Thursday morning during a police operation on the October 1 referendum. Antoni Molons, the Catalan administration’s Secretary of Citizenship and Public Information, is being held after the officers raided his office in the Catalan government building in Barcelona, as well as his home. The Guardia Civil also raided the HQ of Òmnium Cultural, one of the two main pro-independence organizations in the country. Seven of Òmnium’s workers and some members of its leadership are being held, with officers blocking and changing passwords of a number the organization’s email accounts.

Operation in January

The operation was ordered by the local court in charge of the referendum case –excluding the highest-ranking officials, who are being investigated by Spain’s Supreme Court. In fact, this high court in Madrid ordered an operation targeted at Òmnium and another major pro-independence organization, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), on January 24.

Officers entered and searched the HQs of both associations, spending almost 12 hours in Òmnium and six hours in the ANC. During the visit, the officers made a copy of Jordi Cuixart’s and Jordi Sànchez’s email accounts. They were the presidents of the civic entities in the run-up of the referendum, and have now been in pre-trial prison for five months.