Spanish police check sewers beneath parliament days before investiture session

It is part of the ministry's operation to prevent Puigdemont from entering Catalonia clandestinely

Spanish Police officers have been checking all the sewers underneath Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella just a few days ahead of the ceremony of investiture, in principle scheduled for next Tuesday, January 30. Spanish police sources have confirmed to this newspaper that these tasks are related to the operation coordinated by Spain’s Interior Ministry to prevent Carles Puigdemont from entering Catalonia clandestinely with the aim of reaching Parliament and being sworn in.

In fact, the operation came just hours after Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy confirmed that he "will do everything possible" so that Puigdemont is not sworn in. Yesterday, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido also said that security forces have been reinforced to prevent Puigdemont from "being able to enter Spain, not even in the trunk of a car." Zoido also assured that police officers have been tracking Puigdemont since he left for Belgium on October 30.

In total there were five Spanish police specialists of the underground unit who checked the sewers of the Parc de la Ciutadella one by one. They even went inside to verify that Parliament cannot be accessed through them. Several vans belonging to the unit were parked at different entrances to the park throughout the morning, and at noon two further vans from this special unit joined them, but have now been removed.

Maria Capdevila, a journalist from Europa Press, posted two tweets that clearly show how the officers were conducting the operation. As she explained, the officers had a map so as to be able to check all entries and said they "are doing their job."

According to parliamentary sources, operations to check the security of the Parc de la Ciutadella are commonplace before a plenary or on special days, but are usually carried out by the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s own police force. In addition, this Wednesday there were no important events scheduled in Parliament, and the investiture plenary session is not expected until next week.

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