As many as 210 officers from Spain’s National Police and Guardia Civil who were stationed in Catalonia to stop the referendum from going ahead on 1 October will be able to enjoy a free weekend’s stay in Murcia. The initiative, which will take place on April 13 and 14, is funded by Hostetur, the Association of Hotel and Tourist Accommodation Owners and has the backing of the government of Murcia and several of the Spanish region’s town councils.
Francisco Bernabé, the Spanish government representative in the region, unveiled the agreement by posting a photo on his Twitter feed.
Bernabé thanked the president of Hostetur, María del Mar Martínez, who acknowledged "the extraordinary work carried out by Spain’s law enforcement agencies" in Catalonia "during the secessionist crisis" and encouraged other tourist offices to undertake similar initiatives. According to the association, which represents thirty establishments, the officers will be allocated rooms in hotels and apartments in Mazarrón, San Pedro del Pinatar, La Manga, Águilas, Los Alcázares, Los Narejos and Cartagena.
"The 30 establishments that make up Hostetur have donated some 210 weekends to the officers and their partners. In addition to various leisure and cultural activities, we will hold a Thank You dinner, which will be attended by the 420 officers and government representatives from the region", Martinez declared. She went on to say that the initiative was intended to reward the police, who "suffered genuine hardship" during Catalonia’s 1 October referendum on independence.
Puigdemont: "Franco would be really proud"
Carles Puigdemont, the sacked former president of the Catalan government, reacted to the news with humour. On his Twitter feed, he thanked Hostetur, the Spanish government representative, the city councils and Spain’s Interior Ministry for "honouring" the police officers who "frightened, persecuted, insulted, threatened and beat" the citizens of Catalonia. He ended his tweet with a withering "Franco would be really proud".