Spain’s Guardia Civil police raids delivery company over referendum
One person arrested at the private postal company on charges of distributing polling supervisor notices for the October 1 referendum
Spain’s Guardia Civil police raided Unipost postal service headquarters near Barcelona on Thursday morning as part of an investigation into the October 1 referendum. The director general of the company, Pablo Raventós, has been arrested in the operation which started at around 8am. Apart from raiding the firm’s operations headquarters, the police officers also entered its central office as well as a private residence. Unipost was the company in charge of distributing letters notifying citizens that they had been chosen as polling supervisors. However, the delivery was not successful, as the Spanish police seized around 45,000 of these letters from several Unipost offices on September 19.
Several raids before and after the referendum
Following court orders, the Spanish police has launched a number of operations over the past few weeks in order to investigate the October 1 referendum. The last one was at Idescat, the Catalan statistics institute, on December 5. The officers raided its headquarters in Barcelona seeking information about the preparations for the referendum preparation. The Guardia Civil also raided the Catalan government Telecommunications and IT center (CTTI) on October 20 looking for emails from the Catalan police related to the referendum. Indeed, this raid came two weeks before the same Spanish corps raided a Catalan police station in Lleida, western Catalonia.
All these operations came after the October 1 referendum, but in the run-up to the vote, the Spanish Guardia Civil also raided printing firms, media outlets, delivery companies and Catalan government offices. Indeed, on September 20 around forty offices of the Catalan executive and firms were raided, resulting in the arrest of fifteen Catalan officials.
Two pro-independence civil leaders still in jail after September 20 protest against raids
This operation sparked outrage in Catalonia, and a 40,000-strong spontaneous demonstration was held outside the Catalan department of Economy while the raid was being carried out. Although the rally was peaceful, and there were no injuries, the leaders of the pro-independence organizations who had promoted the demonstration were jailed on October 16 on the grounds that the protest was “tumultuous”. Both leaders, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, are still in pre-trial prison.