Was the Catalan president followed by Spanish police officers on election day?

Catalan home affairs minister reports "unusual" behavior of law enforcement on November 10 to Madrid government

The Catalan president, Quim Torra, voting on November 10, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas)
The Catalan president, Quim Torra, voting on November 10, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

December 4, 2019 01:03 PM

It still remains unclear whether plainclothes officers from Spain's National police force were ordered to follow Catalan president Quim Torra on Sunday November 10, the day of the Spanish general election.

While the media reported that Spain's interior ministry had denied officers were ordered to follow Torra, it did not stop the Catalan interior minister from sending a letter asking for explanations from his Spanish counterpart.

Miquel Buch sent a letter to Spain's acting interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, describing the incidents that caused the Mossos d'Esquadra Catalan police officers with Torra to suspect the president was being followed as "unusual."

Catalan and Spanish officers exchanged words

According to the Mossos officers, people in two cars they approached identified themselves as members of the National police, and while they denied they were keeping tabs on the president, Buch said the Mossos had not been informed of their presence beforehand.

The report of the incidents first appeared on Tuesday in the 'eldiario.es' online publication, and were later confirmed by the Catalan News Agency. Government spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó, called the reports "serious" but that no further action would be taken.

The first incident reported by the Mossos officers took place just before Torra went to vote, when they noticed a car with three men inside that was illegally parked. After talking to the men, they showed their police ID, saying: "We're here for the same reason."

The Mossos then saw a second car approach the first, and after the occupants of both vehicles exchanged words, it drove away before the Catalan officers could make a note of its registration plates.

After Torra had voted, the Mossos officers noticed a third car that appeared to follow them for 10 minutes. After the car went through a red traffic light, the Catalan officers stopped the car and its occupants also identified themselves as National police officers.

Controversy surrounding 41st anniversary of Spain's constitution

At the same time, the Catalan government has also gotten in touch with the Spanish cabinet to inform them of their refusal to take part in events related to the 41st anniversary of Spain's constitution.

In a letter sent by President Torra to Spain's delegate in Catalonia, Teresa Cunillera, and to congress speaker Meritxell Batet, he argues that the Carta Magna is "a tool that justifies repression."

According to him, "it does not represent the majority of Catalans."

The head of the main unionist party in Catalan party, Ciutadans' Lorena Roldán, fought back his comments: "Don't get confused, it is you the one who doesn't represent the majority of Catalans, not the constitution."

"What you want is a tailored constitution, so that you can act with impunity," she added.