Unionists call for exceptional security measures after altercations

Ciutadans and People's Party put pressure on Madrid while grassroots group calls for "mass protest" against independence

Albert Rivera, head of Ciutadans, at an event on October 16, 2019 (by Gerard Artigas)
Albert Rivera, head of Ciutadans, at an event on October 16, 2019 (by Gerard Artigas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 16, 2019 01:55 PM

Clashes between protesters expressing their discontent with the Supreme Court ruling convicting 9 pro-independence leaders of sedition and police officers throughout Catalonia have led unionists to call for exceptional security measures.

Albert Rivera, head of the Ciutadans party, has asked that Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez send more Spanish police officers to "protect Catalans" before meeting with Sánchez Wednesday evening.  

Rivera also asked that Article 155 of the Constitution be applied in Catalonia, suspending self-rule and removing President Quim Torra from office, whom he compared to a "suicide driver at the head" of the Catalan government.

Playing on the name of the anonymous organization behind many of the protests, Tsunami Democràtic, he described the altercations as a "tsunami of violence."

Casado accuses Sánchez of "improvising"

Ciutadans, however, is not the only unionist party to call on Sánchez to implement harsher measures in Catalonia, with Pablo Casado of the People's Party demanding that he "act with determination" when dealing with the unrest that he implement the National Security Law.   

Following a Tuesday morning meeting between Sánchez and Casado, the conservative politician told the press that the Spanish president was "improvising" with his response to how events have unfolded in Catalonia.

The People's Party politician believes the Sánchez should send Catalan president Quim Torra a warning, reminding him to comply with his "constitutional duties," before implementing Article 155 if he refuses to do so.

As for the pro-independence Tsunami Democràtic group, Casado said they were like "a kale borroka" armed urban guerilla group active during the violent years of the Basque independence movement.

Sánchez: prepared for "any possible scenario"

Pedro Sánchez responded to Casado's remarks by affirming that the Spanish government is prepared for "any possible scenario" and that it "will act, if necessary, in a firm and proportionate manner."

Sánchez also applauded the work of the security forces that have been attempting to contain unrest at protests and issued a "firm condemnation of the use of violence to frighten all citizens."

Supreme Court head 

Meanwhile, the head of the Supreme Court - the one sentencing nine Catalan leaders to years in jail -, Carlos Lesmes, said that the Catalan president, Quim Torra, is "responsible for the limits that must not be surpassed". 

Societat Civil Catalana calls for a "mass protest"

This comes as unionist group Societat Civil Catalana has announced that it is organizing a "mass protest" in Barcelona on October 27 – two years after former president Carles Puigdemont's unsuccessful declaration of independence – against "violence and the independence movement."

SCC president Fernando Sánchez Costa called the clashes as a "tsunami of confrontations," and requested that "Catalans and our friends from the rest of Spain" counter them with a "calm wave" in the form of the march his group has called for.

Pablo Iglesias calls for "political solutions"

Pablo Iglesias, of Podemos, on the other hand, said that the issues in Catalonia were political and therefore required a "political solution."