The office of public prosecution to investigate violent acts against Catalan MPs
The Catalan Parliament will also file a formal complaint regarding the violent protests that took place last Wednesday in Barcelona. Protesters tried to besiege the Parliament and impede the entrance of MPs, some of whom were insulted, threatened, pushed and sprayed. The Spanish Penal Code states that these type of actions are a felony and offenders could face between three and five years in person. Catalan Police had to protect the Parliament and the MPs, with a deployment of 600 police officers. All political parties condemned the violent acts by protesters and most of the opposition said that the deployment of security forces was too small.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan political class and a large part of society were shocked and outraged by yesterday\u2019s violence in front of the Catalan Parliament. Protesters tried to besiege the Parliament and impede the entrance of MPs. Those MPs trying to arrive on foot were insulted, threatened, pushed and sprayed, and many had to access the Parliament inside a police riot van or via a helicopter, such as the Catalan President and the Parliament\u2019s President. Catalonia\u2019s office of public prosecution has opened an investigation about those actions and has requested information from the Catalan Police. The Catalan Parliament has also decided to file a formal complaint but is still studying if it will do it on its own or will back the Prosecutor. The President of the Catalan Government Artur Mas explained that on Wednesday evening the Executive already talked to the Prosecutor\u2019s Office about the violent incidents. Impeding MPs to attend a Parliament\u2019s plenary is a felony under the Spanish Penal Code (Article 498). Mas stressed that "those who have committed an offence will be identified, detained, judged, and condemned". In addition, the Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Felip Puig explained that police detained seven people and has already identified ten more people, and more were to come. For the moment, the Catalan Police will charge them with the misdemeanour of resistance and damages, but they are likely to face additional charges.
The images of protesters attacking Catalan MPs and blocking the Parliament will be difficult to erase from the collective memory. The events have been considered by a vast majority an attack against democracy and against the Parliament, an institution that dates back to the Middle Ages (it is one of the oldest in Europe) but that could not have a continuity throughout history because of authoritarian regimes. All the Catalan political parties have condemned yesterday\u2019s actions, a condemnation also backed today unanimously by the press.
Spokespeople from the \u201Cindignats\u201D movement, the protesters that were camping in Spanish squares for the last month, have also condemned the violent incidents. They stressed that those committing crimes do not represent the movement and that they only support peaceful protests. Despite those clarifications, there is a general acknowledgement that the protest movement has lost credibility and supporters.
The opposition parties criticise the small number of police deployed
Most of the opposition parties questioned the size of the police deployment, which was considered insufficient. Between 550 and 600 policemen, most of them riot police, were deployed to control protesters and protect the Parliament of Catalonia. They were deployed around the Ciutadella Park, where the Parliament is located. Puig recognised that they were not expecting such levels of violence and that the police had to adapt its deployment as the situation was evolving. He has also explained that the Catalan Police will study further methods and tactics to face protesters \u201Cthat are becoming more violent and professional\u201D and that \u201Cact as an urban guerrilla\u201D movement. Police may use water canons in the future he recognised.