Catalonia fails in its reform of a security law that the Government now wants to imitate

It was in November 2012 when Esther quintana he lost an eye after being hit by a rubber ball during a general strike in Barcelona. This case was the trigger that led the Parliament, a year later, to ban the Mossos d’Esquadra use this projectile, which was replaced by the foam, despite the fact that the agents warned about their lower effectiveness in maintaining distance and thus avoiding hand-to-hand with the protesters. The debate on public order was reopened in Catalonia after the riots due to the condemnation of 1-O, and it returned to the political arena during the negotiations for the investiture of Pere Aragonès as president of the Generalitat. First, with a preliminary agreement by which the CUP claimed to also eliminate the

foam. Finally, the requirement was reduced to a moratorium until the Department of the Interior made public the protocol for the use of this projectile and, in doing so, said moratorium did not come into force.

In front of pressing of the anti-system, Catalan police unions have warned on countless occasions that leaving the riot gear Without tools to disperse violent demonstrations, it would lead them to a more dangerous situation – melee – both for the troops themselves and for those who caused the riots. They are now agents of the National Police and Civil Guard who fear the withdrawal of the rubber balls with the modification of the Citizen Security Law. A measure proposed by the coalition government, and one that has led the uniformed to call a demonstration on November 27.

“We are resoundingly opposed to this withdrawal because, as we have seen in the disturbances in which we have to intervene, also in Catalonia, the substitute element for balls, such as the foam, does not generate a dissuasive result or help to restore public order, “he tells ABC Pablo perez, spokesman for Jupol, a National Police union. The argument put forward for their possible withdrawal is their harmfulness. According to a report by the NGO Irídia, between 2000 and 2020, 40 injured by this projectile have been documented throughout Spain. But, the consequence of his disappearance, as the Mossos had already warned, is “melee, the confrontation between violent and police“, Which would generate a higher number of injuries on both sides, says Pérez.

Foam and rubber balls

The usage protocol of this projectile marks that it must be fired at an angle slightly inclined towards the ground so that they lose power and do not hit in high areas. «Yes, it is true that the angle of the muzzle can be tilted more than necessary on some occasions, due to the tension of the moment, and that the ball goes in a more upward direction and thus cause an injury, although it is difficult to do so. », Indicates Pérez.

«If this element that helps to avoid confrontation is dispensed with, an alternative has to be found. If it is a harmful tool, you should look for one that is less so, but in contexts where the bulk of protesters is much higher than the number of police officers, hand-to-hand is unfeasible, “he warns. Daniel Limones, UOC security expert.

Regarding possible substitutes, the Police Intervention Unit (UIP) – known as riot control – indicate that there is no other element that generates the same result. Something that their counterparts in the Catalan police corroborate, after years without using them: foam they do not keep their distance in force, so extremely violent protesters are not deterred at all. Today we do not have a really effective tool to dissolve the violent mass, “he explains. Imma Viudes, the Sap-Fepol.

Demonstration of agents

The Mossos union also recalls that, from the resolution approved by the Catalan Chamber -476 / X- in 2013, only the replacement of the balls and the change of the identification number of the agents were applied, to make it more visible. Other points of it, such as «promote isolation and social rejection of urban violence and public disorder»Have been forgotten – and even unfulfilled – by some Catalan rulers. See the tighten (press) Quim Torra to the self-appointed Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) during an institutional speech for the first anniversary of the 1-O referendum.

The Government’s contempt for the autonomous police was what led hundreds of agents – even from other bodies – to demonstrate in Barcelona at the end of October. A march against the “constant politicization” of the Police Corps and the lack of “courage” of the Catalan leaders to defend the agents against aggression, after weeks of continuous attacks on the uniformed in large bottles.

Now it will be national police and civil guards who will take to the streets, in rejection of the modification of the Citizen Security law, considering, as happens to the Mossos, that the Government «it is increasingly restricting the action of the police, especially in demonstrations that lead to violent altercations, where public order is disturbed, objects are thrown at the agents and street furniture is burned. From Jupol they consider that the change sought by the Executive “casts doubt on police work and tries to benefit those who break the laws. We do not understand this desire to protect the bad guy and make it difficult for us to restore public order, “they criticize.

“Politicization” of security

On Catalonia the inspection also continues. It will be the CUP who will chair the commission to study the police model in Parliament. A commission that derives from the investiture agreement with the Republicans and whose objective, as announced by the anti-establishment, will be to carry out an audit on the activity of the agents “as has never been done before.”

The decision has reaped unrest among the ranks of the Catalan police, and that is that the antisystem have demanded on several occasions to dissolve the Corps anti-riot unit -the Mobile Brigade-. It is not the only grievance of the Government of Aragon towards the Mossos, and it is that a few months ago the Interior dissolved the cabinet that was in charge of the legal defense of the agents and transferred it to the central, which depends on the Presidency.

«The problem lies in politicization. We lack a culture of safety and understand that public order units do not exist just because. We can discuss whether the existing model can be improved, but all control cannot fall on the agents, who see how they are constantly questioned, when they must ensure the rights and freedoms of others, “concludes Limones.

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