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Some Catalan officials turn up for work as usual

Despite the uncertainty caused by the suspension of Catalonia’s self-government many public servants arrive at their offices

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30 October 2017 05:19 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalan officials were faced with a dilemma on Monday morning: whether they should go to work or not. After the Spanish government invoked Article 155 of the Constitution suspending Catalonia’s self-rule and removing the Catalan executive from office, it was not clear how Catalan officials should respond.

Economy secretary Pere Aragonès had no doubts, arriving at his office just after 9am with secretary general of the vice president’s department, Lluís Juncà. “We are under an intervention by the state government, but we continue working,” said Aragonés in a statement on Monday afternoon. Secretary general of home affairs, César Puig, also went to work with the defiant message: “I have not been removed from office by the person with the right to do so, which is the government that appointed me,” he said.

  • “I have not been removed from office by the person with the right to do so”

    César Puig · Secretary general of home affairs

Junqueras and Rull at the office

The order under Article 155 relieving Catalan officials from their posts applies specifically to the Catalan president, vice president and ministers. Yet that did not stop vice president Oriol Junqueras from going to his office on Rambla Catalunya just after 4pm. Junqueras was accompanied by his press team but made no statements.

Nor was Junqueras the only Catalan minister to defy Rajoy’s orders. Territory minister Josep Rull arrived at his office at 10am on Monday, and tweeted: "Carrying out the responsibilities entrusted in me by the people of Catalonia." Over the weekend Rull had already announced his decision to continue in his post, using the hashtag #Seguim (Let’s continue) on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Catalan police officers twice entered the culture ministry to ask whether culture minister Lluís Puig had arrived at work. Two officers asked after Puig first thing on Monday morning, followed by two more a couple of hours later. However, Puig did not turn up at his office, although the public servants at the ministry did go to work despite the uncertainty.

Catalan police were also seen outside the education ministry, where secretary general Lluís Baulenas arrived for work this morning, along with education officials Joan Mateo and Ignasi Garcia Plata. Health officials also turned up at their offices, such as deputy director of CatSalut, Josep Maria Argimon. Police were also stationed outside this ministry as they were outside the justice and employment ministries.

Concern for public servants

For Carme Forcadell, the safety of public servants was uppermost in her mind. Sources close to the president of the Catalan Parliament said she was concerned about putting civil servants at risk. The agenda of the parliamentary bureau she heads was canceled due to the dissolution of the parliament with the implementation of Article 155. Therefore, the bureau will not meet on Tuesday as originally planned.

Finally, the leader of the Podem party, Albano Dante Fachin, greeted his Twitter followers on Monday from the Catalan Parliament: “Good morning from the Parliament of Catalonia," tweeted Fachin, who also posted two photographs, the facade of the parliament building and a picture of the door of an MPs office.

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  • Catalan Minister for Territory Josep Rull after he was dismissed by the Spanish government, at his desk in the government October 30 (by Twitter @joseprull)

  • Catalan Minister for Territory Josep Rull after he was dismissed by the Spanish government, at his desk in the government October 30 (by Twitter @joseprull)