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Catalan police blames 'radical groups' for violence in front of parliament

Mossos d'Esquadra general director defends police reaction to tense protests on October 1

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02 October 2018 01:28 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The general director of the Catalan police force the Mossos d'Esquadra, Andreu Martínez, spoke at a press conference given by the law enforcement agency on Tuesday following tense protests and forceful police intervention the night before.

Regards protesters who clashed with officers at the doors of parliament and in front of the Spanish police headquarters, Martínez said that "some radical groups" had been looking for confrontation with the Mossos. Further, he assured that "starting at the wekened," they had "noted a change in the behavior" of these groups.

Tension at doors of parliament and Spanish police HQ

The general director spoke to the media to give the point of view of the law enforcement agency regards the tension seen on October 1, after the main demonstrations were held to remember the independence referendum and police violence that had taken place one year prior.

The October 1 protest gathered over 180,000 people and went from central Plaça Catalunya square to the doors of parliament in the Ciutadella Park. The main demonstration remained peaceful, but a handful of protesters remained on the streets.

The small group that stayed behind tried to break the police cordon and get closer to the chamber building, chanting things like 'Let's occupy parliament!' Meanwhile, a second area of tensions took place in front of the Spanish police station in Via Laietana. The Mossos d'Esquadra intervened in force in both cases.

"A minority with a clear intent of confrontation," says general director

The general director of the Mossos noted that those protesters who attempted to go into the parliament were "a minority with a clear intent of confrontation." He explained that parliament "is a space that has traditionally been respected and that has traditionally been seen as it is, the seat of the sovereignty of the people."

He further urged people to remember that the Mossos will "only act in those cases that display this kind of violence," and that in that case the police will intervene "immediately." Additionally, Martínez denied that the law enforcement body had been taken by surprise, insisting instead that it has been carried out with "much planning."   ç

Catalan ombudsman speaks on issue

Catalan ombudsman Rafael Ribó also spoke about the incidents on Monday and assured that they "will be studied" to see whether it's possible "to act." Ribó has not yet divulged whether the same route wound be taken by his office as with those regards the clash between protesters and police, the latter having acted with force, seen on Saturday.

Ribó further questioned, regarding Saturday's acts on part of the Mossos, whether there was a "disproportionate" use of force by the Catalan police, and whether there was violence or not displayed by the protesters. The public advocate made these statements from Brussels at a European Ombudsman assembly.  

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  • Tension between the Catalan police and protesters before the parliament on October 1 2018 (by Jordi Pujolar)

  • Tension between the Catalan police and protesters before the parliament on October 1 2018 (by Jordi Pujolar)