Spanish police operation on October 1 underway
Guardia Civil finishes raid at official's office and arrests him
Spain's Guardia Civil has arrested the Catalan administration’s Secretary of Citizenship and Public Information, Antoni Molons. Spain’s Guardia Civil police started a police operation on the October 1 referendum on Thursday. Police officers entered the high-ranking Catalan government official's home and office during the operation. During the police operation, Molons was held in order to attend the raids. He was released some hours later charged with misuse of funds and disobedience.
The raid of the high-ranking Catalan official's office came to an end at about 4pm. Yet another raid, in the HQ Òmnium Cultural, one of the two main pro-independence organizations in the country, lasted for almost 12 hours until 7.30pm local time. Seven of Òmnium’s workers and some members of its leadership were being held, with officers blocking and changing passwords of a number the organization’s email accounts. Meanwhile, around 100 people gathered in front of the headquarters of the Catalan government in Barcelona to protest against police's raids in the morning. In the evening, some other protests were held in the Catalan capital.
Òmnium VP calls operation a “shameful attack”
The vice president of Òmnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, told the RAC1 radio station that the judge who ordered the raid of his organization’s HQ warned him not to call for protests outside the building if he wanted to avoid “charges of sedition and rebellion.”
Mauri called the police operation a “shameful attack” and challenged the need to raid his organization when its accounts are published on its website. Mauri said that it seemed to him as if the officers were looking for financial documents but the Òmnium vice president insisted that “they will not find evidence of any payments from the Catalan government.”
Operation in January
The operation was part of an ongoing investigation on the referendum by the local court–excluding the highest-ranking officials, who are being investigated by Spain’s Supreme Court. In fact, this high court in Madrid ordered an operation targeted at Òmnium and another major pro-independence organization, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), on January 24.
Officers entered and searched the HQs of both associations, spending almost 12 hours in Òmnium and six hours in the ANC. During the visit, the officers made a copy of Jordi Cuixart’s and Jordi Sànchez’s email accounts. They were the presidents of the civic entities in the run-up of the referendum, and have now been in pre-trial prison for five months.
Some 60 officials investigated
The Barcelona court in charge of Thursday’s operation has also held a number of hearings in the past few weeks, including those related to some businessmen linked to the referendum advertising campaign. Some 30 officials are under investigation by this court for the possible offenses of rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience, revealing of secrets and perversion of justice.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Supreme Court is also investigating another 30 officials related to the independence cause –the most senior ones–, with Spain’s National Court overseeing an open inquiry into the Catalan police leadership.