Additional Spanish law enforcement to leave Catalonia this week

Spain Home Affairs Ministry to withdraw police reinforcement progressively until December 30

Spanish police in front of referendum votes on October 1 in Lleida (by Oriol Bosch)
Spanish police in front of referendum votes on October 1 in Lleida (by Oriol Bosch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 27, 2017 10:53 AM

The Spanish Ministry for Home Affairs has decided to withdraw the extra police officers deployed in Catalonia. According to Spanish newspaper ‘El Confidencial’, the ships housing Spanish police officers will leave the Port of Barcelona, where they’re docked, progressively between now and December 30. Thus, on December 30, there won’t be any extra Spanish police officers deployed in Catalonia.  

On November 16, one of the cruise ships hosting Spanish police officers deployed in Catalonia left the port of Barcelona. The one that left was the one decorated with Warner Brothers’ cartoon characters, and called Moby Dada. The police officers who lived on the ship since it arrived in Barcelona were relocated to Catalan hotels. Some days later, another ship accommodating Spanish police officers left the Port of Tarragona.

Deployed in Catalonia to stop the October 1 referendum

The Spanish government decided to send thousands of police officers to Catalonia in the run-up to the October 1 referendum. The extra deployment of police officers was aimed at stopping the independence referendum.

Their actions against voters with batons and tear gas on the day of the vote caused around 900 injuries, according to the Catalan Ministry of Health. The police officers have remained in Catalonia ever since.

Police operation, a ‘state secret’

The Spanish government has refused to provide information on the deployment of police officers in Catalonia. These agents have been in Catalonia since last September, before the October 1 referendum, and the exact amount of officers and the cost of the police operation have not yet been disclosed. According to El País newspaper, the Spanish government has classified the operation as a “state secret”.

Indeed, some lawmakers in the Spanish Congress have inquired about the operation, but the only response they received was that the Spanish Law of Official Secrets states that the “security plans of the institutions and public authorities” are classified as ‘private’, so they are not obliged to share information about it.