Spanish government prepares to replace Catalan police force

THE Spanish government is reportedly planning to rid Cataluña’s police force of officers who support the independence movement.

It comes after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that he plans to invoke Article 155 of the constitution which will allow the government to impose direct rule on the embattled region. The senate is scheduled to vote on whether to implement the decision on Friday.

Among the proposals Rajoy has asked the Senate to approve, including the removal Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet from office immediately, is the possibility of replacing Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra officers with agents from the national police force.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria also claimed that one of the government’s first acts when they take control of the region will be to see “the political control of the Mossos taken over by the interior ministry”.

While speaking to a UK media outlet, the Spanish government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo revealed that the government plans to use the Mossos to “restore the law” if there are any acts of disobedience when article 155 is invoked. 

According to Spanish media sources, many Catalan officers are reluctant to use the forceful techniques that that were used by riot police on October 1 during the referendum. Trade unions also revealed that several Mossos agents suddenly submitted sick notes to get out of working that day in order not to get involved in the clash.

The Police Chief of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Major Josep Lluis Trapero, is currently under investigation for failing to carry out orders from Spanish authorities to prevent the unauthorised referendum from taking place.

Besides finding a replacement for Major Trapero, the National Police and Guardia Civil are allegedly searching to find a new leadership structure for the Mossos as fears grow that many will pledge their allegiance to the Catalan authorities if Madrid imposes direct rule.

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