The Catalan government will sue the Spanish police for the 16 arrests of individuals on Wednesday in Girona over pro-independence protests including train line cuts on October 1, 2018. Two of the people detained were mayors for the far-left CUP party, and the other 14 include a journalist who was covering the protest, and a nephew of Quim Torra, the Catalan president.

While all of them have been freed pending a summons in court, according to some executive sources, the police operation was “inacceptable” and might mean a crime of illegal detention. There was no judicial authorisation to arrest any of the individuals, but there are some circumstances (like escape risk) when it is acceptable. The legal debate on whether the operation on Wednesday was correct despite not having judicial permission is open.

The government says this kind of detentions are not provided in the Spanish Constitution or in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibits arbitrary detentions. Yet Spain’s home affairs ministry said on Thursday that both a local judge in Girona and the public prosecutor knew about the police operation despite not having ordered it.

Arrests for disorder offenses

Legal representatives of people arrested said the police operation was concerned with public disorder offenses, such as the blocking of the high-speed train line by protesters on the anniversary of the October 1 independence referendum.

Meanwhile, the MPs of JxCAT, ERC and CUP pro-independence parties abandoned the parliamentary committees convened for Wednesday to protest the detentions, something which was criticized by the rest of the parties, with a unionist Ciutadans MP calling them “lazy.”