Catalonia lived this Sunday the sixth night of protests in favor of rapper Pablo Hasél , which have been accompanied by destruction of street furniture, clashes with the police and looting of shops. The Government has modified its speech and now qualifies them as “pure vandalism”, according to the Interior Minister, Miquel Sàmper (Junts).
The management of the violent drift comes in the interregnum of a current Executive and the negotiations for the new one , where the CUP, which asks for Sàmper’s resignation, holds the key. The minister confessed to feeling “very alone” in the crisis. The Catalan employers see politicians “abdicating” their duties.
Foment del Treball held an emergency meeting this Sunday in which it harshly censured the administration – especially the Generalitat – and supported the work of the Mossos and other security forces. In its statement, the second in four days, the Catalan employers criticize “the irresponsible who close their eyes as if they understood that it is not the duty of the acting Government to ensure public and private goods .”
The impact generated by the images of dozens of people who entered stores and even fled with the mannequins forced the Government to change its discourse. “At first it was clear that it was an act of protest for freedom of expression, but there has been an evolution to acts of pure vandalism,” Sàmper argued this Sunday during an interview on TV-3.
That phrase put an end to a policy close to sympathy with the demonstrations that began last Tuesday, after the arrest of Pablo Hasél to serve a sentence of nine months in prison for glorifying terrorism. The independence movement sees in the rapper another case of the “repression” of the State.
The demonstrations, which have left more than a hundred detainees, have not been massive if compared, for example, with those after the judgment of the procés trial . But they do show that the malaise is transversal and is not limited only to the independence movement or Catalonia.
The socialist Salvador Illa, winner of the 14-F, accepted this Sunday that there is a “room for improvement” in the classification of crimes related to freedom of expression and recalled the commitment to modify them.
The arrest of the 32-year-old musician, after barricading himself at the University of Lleida, came at a time of high political tension in Catalonia. In addition to the uncertainty of the negotiations between ERC and Junts to reissue the current Government – with a long history of disagreements and with the CUP holding the key to ensure the majority – there is also an environment marked by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
That same Tuesday, a 19-year-old woman who was participating in the demonstration in the Catalan capital lost her eye due to a foam projectile launched by the riot police. The CUP did not take long to request the resignation of Sàmper. The internal division in their ranks over whether to enter the future Government remained in the background after the role of the police became a bargaining chip.
A large part of the left parties in Catalonia, but especially the anti-capitalists, have made a flag of their criticism of the security model, which they believe is cornering mediation to focus on the role of the riot police. “The talks are totally conditioned to clear changes in this area,” announced the CUP.
ERC’s rush to close a deal ended up hitting a stone that no one imagined. Junts described the police response as “unacceptable” and asked not to leave “unpunished” the alleged excesses of some agents. Laura Borràs had already criticized the Mossos in the campaign for the way they manage security during Vox acts.
A photojournalist reported that an agent had fired a bullet at him. Last Thursday, Sàmper himself called for “an urgent and urgent reform” of the citizen security model.
The body took that statement as a disavowal, something that had never happened in the Generalitat. “The loneliness of the Minister of the Interior is enormous,” Sàmper confessed this Sunday in an interview on RAC-1 in which he affected the lack of forcefulness of “all political and social forces” in condemning the violence. Interior and the unions smoothed out rough edges in a two-hour meeting where the agents criticized the “abandonment by the political sector.”
Pere Aragonès has been silent since last Friday, when he took advantage of a party act to balance his status as acting president (without the ability, for example, to dismiss directors) and leader of a pro-independence majority urged to close a pact.
“An eventual individual bad performance cannot stain the task of a body whose 17,000 agents work to protect the security and rights and freedoms of all citizens,” he said regarding possible malpractice. In his team they ensure that he follows the whole situation closely.
On Saturday, in a statement, ERC again advocated a change in the police model , something it did when former councilor Miquel Buch and former president Quim Torra were shocked by the police response to secessionist demonstrations.
This video perfectly shows the police carrega that has produced between Lesseps and Fontana. @mossos have carregat des de dalt i des de baix posing in clar perill to the protesters, generant agglomerations. Hi ha people ferides @interiorcat pic.twitter.com/QLkXUpvDcg
Sàmper denied this Sunday that there is a change of position in the Government and recalled that the Mossos have been working internally on a review of their model for a long time. The counselor showed his reluctance that this debate take place at the negotiating table of the future Government and take place in the Parliament.
Torra and the deputy elected by Junts Joan Canadell criticized the way in which some protesters were dispersed in the Gràcia neighborhood on Saturday night. “The country that I am ambitious for does not have a BRIMO [Mobile Brigade, riot control] like the one we have now,” the former president of the Chamber of Commerce tweeted.
Sàmper said he did not have all the details but saw the intervention proportional. “Public order never pleases, in any case,” he said.
PSC, Ciudadanos and PP yesterday expressed their rejection of the looting and damage to urban furniture during the demonstrations these days and showed their support for the Mossos d’Esquadra. In an appearance before the media, yesterday, in Barcelona, the socialist Salvador Illa defended the actions of the Catalan police “in the face of the silence and hesitation of those who should have spoken long before.”
“Whoever does not defend the Mossos d’Esquadra, that is, security, coexistence and public order in Catalonia is disqualified, from my point of view, to govern this country,” added the winner of the 14-F elections , in a veiled reference to ERC leader, Pere Aragonès.
The national leaders of the PP and Ciudadanos, Pablo Casado and Inés Arrimadas, respectively, also launched messages of support for those in uniform. The popular asked the government to stop “the ministers who justify the kale borroka .” Arrimadas took the opportunity to accuse the president, Pedro Sánchez, of looking the other way.
The attack on the facade of the Palau de la Música last Saturday generated great outrage. The cultural entity had signed a manifesto along with other institutions such as the Liceu precisely in favor of freedom of expression as a result of the arrest of Pablo Hasél.
The leader of the PP in Catalonia, Alejandro Fernández, mentioned the incident to criticize the damage. “Any difference to the Taliban destroying statues and works of art?” He tweeted.
Nacho Martín Blanco, from Cs, criticized the rapper, a “criminal,” he said, with convictions for threats to journalists and coercion of judicial witnesses. The elected deputy was rebuked by some passersby when he was addressing the press.