It is said that, in the midst of Franco’s regime, the United Kingdom’s ambassador in Madrid, alarmed by a ‘spontaneous’ demonstration organized by the regime to demand Gibraltar, called the Minister of Interior to express his concern. The minister, who was very kind, wanted to calm him down: ‘Mr. Ambassador, don't worry; I will send you more policemen.” The ambassador replied: “Thank you very much, Minister, but instead of more policemen, I would prefer you not to send me more demonstrators.”
The anecdote –sarcasm included– regained meaning when the government announced its plans to send a crew of up to 400 national policemen to Catalonia to prevent another situation in which public order, the circulation on the AP-7 and the toll collection systems are left at the mercy of the kale borroka that the so-called Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) have taken to the streets of Catalonia. A few weeks ago, we argued that independentists’ celebration of the illegal votes of 1 October last year had given rise to organized street violence in Catalonia. That analysis is being confirmed at an accelerated rate.
It is an institutional and administrative nonsense that, in a community with 17,000 police officers (mossos d´esquadra), national police teams need to be moved to replace such mossos in the performance of their duties, as the political leaders of the autonomous police have decided that these kale borroka can operate unimpeded. If the national government believes this transfer of policemen to Catalonia is necessary, it is because the autonomous community is seriously –and repeatedly– failing in its obligations to maintain public safety and public order. And if that is the case, the answer should not be to send more policemen but to change the commanders of the mossos, to start with the politicians. First, the president of the Generalidad cheered on the CDRs violence and encouraged them to continue it; a few days ago, Torra himself, ordinary representative of the State even to his regret, disqualified the intervention of the autonomous police in Girona and Tarragona against the violence of the CDR directed against those who were peacefully demonstrating in homage to the Constitution. After Torra demanded the purge of the police commanders for these actions, the CDRs have obtained a letter of marque to interrupt traffic on the AP-7 for fifteen hours, lift tolls and take over the public space with total impunity where they want.
Now, with the 21st December Council of Ministers in mind, we are witnessing a campaign of appeal to violence with equal impunity that has begun with Torra’s call for “the Slovenian way” and has continued with the appeal of the founder of the terrorist group Terra Lliure to take over Parliament. Those who say this is not a police problem are right. It certainly isn't. It is much deeper and more serious because it affects the whole action of a Government, that of the Generalitat of Catalonia, located not on the margin but against the democratic and constitutional institutionalism. The excesses committed by the CDRs with impunity are the most obvious, but certainly not the only, expression of this unacceptable situation. “Inadmissible” was precisely the adjective used by the vice-president of the Government to describe the inaction of the Mossos, announcing that what happened “would have consequences.” The forceful consequence seems to be that the government headed by Pedro Sánchez plans to send 400 national policemen to Barcelona. An absurd and evasive response, a way of pretending to do something. A non-answer that, once again, leaves a politically incapable and uncircumcised government in evidence.
An insurrectionary government has established itself in Catalonia, conspiring against the State and its institutions, ignoring its responsibilities, firstly, towards the Catalan population itself, and objectively collaborating with the strategy of street violence that the CDRs deploy with impunity. And 400 policemen are not the answer.