Catalan Police to be directed by a person associated with the opposition Socialist Party (PSC)

June 10, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN

Albert Batlle, in charge of Catalonia's prison network during the former left-wing Cabinet (2003-2010), has been appointed the new Director General of the Catalan Police Force, called Mossos d'Esquadra. The Catalan Government, run by the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), appointed Batlle on Tuesday, emphasising he is "an independent person", "with experience". Batlle is a former member of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of opposition in the Catalan Parliament. He will have the challenge to direct the Mossos d'Esquadra after years of controversy linked to the police's use of force. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, asked him "to guide police action" and "to introduce a degree of common sense and calm". Batlle earned prestige as a manager of complex issues and he was one of the key people in the organisation of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Violent protests in Barcelona over eviction of a squat in Sants neighbourhood

May 28, 2014 11:47 PM | ACN

From Monday to Wednesday, there have been many demonstrations and small riots in Barcelona and other cities throughout Catalonia to protest against the eviction of the Can Vies squat, a social centre managed by associations and anarchist trade unions. The Can Vies squat was running since 1997 and it was a symbol among the alternative left and anti-system movements. It was occupying a small building owned by Barcelona’s Metropolitan Transport Authority (TMB), which had somehow tolerated the occupation of its facilities. However, since a few years ago the building has been affected by a town planning project. On Monday the Catalan Police started to empty Can Vies, after it had been paralysed for a long time by civil mobilisations. However, on Monday evening the building was finally emptied, bricked up and a bulldozer started to demolish it. This sparked the conflict. The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, insisted he will not negotiate until the violence ends.