Madrid / Barcelona 23 SEP 2019 – 18:26 CEST
The Civil Guard has arrested on Monday at least nine people in the province of Barcelona in an operation against Catalan pro-independence radicals who allegedly planned violent acts on occasion of the second anniversary of the illegal referendumof October 1 and the ruling of the trial of the procés scheduled for this autumn. The operation aims to decapitate the most radical groups of the self-proclaimed Defense Committees of the Republic (CDR). The detainees, none of whom have a criminal record, are part of the so-called Technical Response Teams, the most violent wing of the CDR, according to sources close to the case.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court refers to the detainees as a “terrorist group” and ensures that they have acted against them because of the “certainty” that they intended to “carry out” actions “between the anniversary of the illegal referendum of self-determination on October 1, 2017 and the announcement of the sentence of the trial of the procés“. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the group has been arrested “to abort the project that could have caused irreparable damage” as well as “the progress of their preparations”. They are charged with the crimes of rebellion, terrorism and possession of explosives, as judicial sources have detailed. The operation continues under secrecy in summary proceedings.
The suspects allegedly stored material that could be used for the manufacture of explosives – sulfuric acid, paraffin, powdered aluminum, industrial stripper and gasoline have been found in a Sabadell home, in the absence of confirmation of the analyzes on the substances involved -, and supposedly they came to test homemade bombs in an abandoned quarry, according to the same sources. The searchers say the group had annotations about the chemical components of Goma 2, a powerful industrial explosive, as well as notes on making artifacts with materials that have been seized.
The investigators consider that it has been possible to abort the beginning of what could be a new terrorist group, which prepared actions of a certain entity or gravity. One of the detainees had the plans of public buildings, judicial sources confirm. Investigators suspect that they may correspond to a Civil Guard barracks in the town of Canovelles (Vallés Oriental, Barcelona).
The agents of the armed institute have practiced a dozen searches in private homes and various locations in Barcelona, Sabadell and Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, in which substances have been seized, considered precursors to make explosives. They have also found computer equipment and documentation.
In the operation, started around five in the morning on Monday, about 500 agents have participated – including members of the anti-terrorist groups of the Civil Guard – under the orders of the judge of the National Court Manuel García-Castellón. The operation is still open, so no further arrests are ruled out.
Dozens of people have gathered to protest outside the door of one of the houses where the operation was carried out while the Sabadell searches were carried out.