Photo: Spanish National Police vans, with dashboards filled with Spanish flags (Credit: El Nacional)
By Sergi Alcàzar
From El Nacional, 5th September, 2018
The Ministry of the Interior has initiated a reinforcement of the police resources in Catalonia with a staggered deployment of around 600 troops from the National Police Intervention Units (UIPs), their riot police, in the week before the celebration of the Catalan National Day [September 11th] and the announcement of manifestations from pro-independence activists planned for the autumn.
Police sources assert that there are between 10 and 12 brigades of UIPs –each made up of about 50 police agents – coming from different parts of the country, and that their mission will be to protect public buildings and support to the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalan Police] in keeping citizens safe.
The transfer of these agents has begun this week and troops have arrived in Catalonia from Galicia already, and are being housed in the military barracks of Bruc. They will be joined in the coming days by more riot police who will also strengthen the cohort of one hundred or so agents, of the two UIP brigades which are permanently stationed in Catalonia.
According to sources, reinforcement was requested a few days ago from the Police Headquarters of Catalonia and it is usual that the UIP staff is increased with troops from other parts of Spain for the celebrations of the “Diada” [Catalan National Day] on September 11th. On September 4th the Ministry of the Interior ordered that the departure from Catalonia from 300 civil guards who had planned to move back to their homes be suspended until at least October 15th.
The order, published yesterday in the Official Gazette of the Civil Guard, states that “because of needs and requirements inherent to guaranteeing public safety in this quarter of the year, deployment in the current location is extended to October 15th”
These agents will therefore remain in Catalonia during the next few weeks during which mobilizations and manifestations pro-independence groups are planned for the anniversary of the referendum on October 1st, among other things.