"We saw that it had to be held, that we had no way out." This is the justification of the head of the Department oh Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, for having allowed the Santiago Abascal (Vox) rally in Barcelona to celebrate Constitution Day, which led to a clear exaltation of Nazism with roman salutes and fascist symbolism. Sàmper explained in an interview with Ràdio 4 that the royal decree of alarm makes an exception for the rights of demonstration and assembly and that, for that reason, the act went ahead. He also said that those holding public office are not included in rhe limitation of mobility. This meant Abascal could travel to Barcelona. Sàmper explained that the Mossos d'Esquadra did act to prevent two antagonistic blocks, the ultra-right and the pro-independence CDRs, from meeting: "It is clear that if we allow the extreme right and the anti-fascists to come together, it would not end well".
Sàmper has considered that "fortunately" the right to freedom of expression and demonstration is "enormous", but has pointed out that the exception is hate crimes, which include the denial of genocide. And he regretted that in Spain this "is not as well resolved as in other European countries". He explained that there has not been much legal persecution of such acts and that he would be in favour of stricter laws: "Any fascist behaviour would have to be penalised and prosecuted". He pointed out that this is a state competence and that he, in any case, will put the facts of this Sunday's gathering in the knowledge of the Prosecutor's Office. Sàmper explained that the identification and arrests of two people were made for having broken a court order prohibiting them from participating in demonstrations and rallies.
Sàmper also referred to the other controversy of the weekend: the repercussions of the independence summit which included xenophobic parties. Sàmper has defended that Josep Costa, JxCat MP, attended because he did not know who was participating. He has reiterated that Costa arrived late and left before the end of the meeting, which was online, and has pointed out that his "mistake" was not checking beforehand who would be in the meeting. "I know few people who are less questionable in the exercise of rights and freedoms; you have my full confidence", he has defended, and has pointed out that now everyone will be more alert to see who is in the meetings: "It was a mistake".
As for the post-electoral scenario, Sàmper has defended a new government alliance between JxCat and ERC as the way to advance towards the independence project, and has said that an ERC pact with comunes and PSC would mean that Pere Aragonès has "failed to tell the truth" in his statements.
"All marriages have difficulties, and often after crises there come consolidations," he said, referring to the difficult situation that government partners are now experiencing. In fact, he regretted that in the management of the health crisis there have been things that have not been done well and for that reason, he said, he had already apologised in Parliament: "We were wrong about many things and I apologised". He also questioned ERC's strategy of voting in favour of the Spanish government's budget, which he has accused of historically failing to meet its commitments: "I hope I am making a mistake, but history shows that I am not".