Pandèmia

"Serious risk" of attacks on government buildings

Vigilance is reinforced in Government HQs and several departments as well as for senior officials

After several people threw paint and blood at the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat this Sunday, the Catalan police have detailed officers to government buildings. The Minister of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, has assured that there is a "serious risk" of attacks on several government buildings. Apart from the Palau de la Generalitat in Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona, where there will now always be at least one anti-riot van, the focus is also on the headquarters of the departments most involved in the management of the pandemic, such as Health, Home Affairs and Business. Likewise, the head of the Mossos, the Catalan police, Chief Commissioner Eduard Sallent, explained that the surveillance of the public acts of ministers and high officials will be reinforced to guarantee "that a problem of insecurity is not generated".

Sàmper linked this Sunday's action in Plaça Sant Jaume to the feeling of "frustration and anger" over the restrictions imposed by the covid-19. He has taken for granted that the riots of two Fridays ago and the broken glass in the Barcelona City Council the day after are situations that "will be repeated" but that his obligation is to stop it from happening. That is why the councillor has defended that, "until this crisis is stabilised", the Mossos will make more protection in the buildings and the people of the Government who are considered more susceptible to attacks.

Asked whether anybody would be dismissed over the paint and blood throwing incident at the Palau de la Generalitat, Sàmper has responded that he is responsible for "not having seen it coming". The device that was in place this Sunday, when the building was closed, "met the standards of protection for normal times", he argued. The head of the Mossos has recalled that the agents who were on guard identified the organiser and three other people who participated in this action in the Plaça Sant Jaume. Sallent has said that they are workers in a restaurant in l'Hospitalet de Llobregat.

Private parties this weekend

The Minister of Home Affairs and the head of the Mossos made this assessment at a press conference on Monday in which they explained that several private parties had been reported this weekend. Sallent has reported that they have detected a party with 20 people in a home in Sarrià in Barcelona, another with 28 people in a former bank office in l'Hospitalet de Llobregat and a third in a cannabis association in Sabadell. They have also fined people meeting in hotels. Since 16 October, the Mossos and local police have filed 22,297 complaints for non-compliance against individuals and 395 against establishments. This weekend there have been 668 complaints and 11 establishments have been closed.

The Government  has also extended the curfew for another 15 days. One change has been made, though: up until now, people were only allowed to pick up take-away orders from bars and restaurants until 9 p.m., but from now on it is extended until 10 p.m. Sàmper has indicated that people will have the "minimum" time to be able to make the journey from the establishment to their homes and that they will have to show their shopping ticket if they are stopped by the police. Those delivering food at home will still be allowed to work until 11.

Health department to extend all restrictions for a further 15 days

At the same time, Sàmper pointed out that on Thursdays there is an increase in traffic, of between 7% and 15%, which is "probably" attributed to families going to second homes. The minister added that, in contrast, due to the perimeter confinement on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there is a decrease in vehicle traffic of between 40% and 85% compared to an equivalent weekend in 2019. As for the curfew, according to the minister, there has been "a sustained drop" in mobility between 10 pm and midnight. Between 0 and 6 a.m. vehicle traffic remains "very residual".

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