Catalan police caught in crosshairs of separatist push

As Spain imposes direct rule on the semi-autonomous region after an independence declaration by Catalan lawmakers, with its interior ministry taking control of the Mossos d'Esquadra, the force's roughly 16,000 members are in turmoil.

Catalan police caught in crosshairs of separatist push

World Bulletin / News Desk

Catalonia's homegrown police force faces a dilemma -- obey caretaker bosses imposed by Madrid, or stay loyal to the now-deposed regional government?

"There's a lot of tension. There is a lot of fear and anxiety in the entire force, regardless of whether people back independence or oppose it -- as in my case," Vicente, a Mossos officer who declined to give his real name, told AFP.

- Split down the middle -
"The force is split pretty much down the middle," added Manel, a colleague with over a decade of experience who would also not be fully identified.

"Some are delighted that Madrid takes control, but others are worried."

"The atmosphere is difficult, there are arguments, shouting, very tense situations between colleagues," said Vicente.

Besides the Mossos, the only armed force that fell directly under the region's control before it was taken over, some 6,000 members of the national police are based permanently in Catalonia.

Since the beginning of the standoff between Madrid and Catalonia over an unauthorised independence referendum on October 1, that number has been boosted by about 10,000 -- also including members of the Guardia Civil police force.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Ekim 2017, 23:57