Police have this afternoon carried out a series of arrests in Girona, in the north of Catalonia, relating to protests on 1st October last year. Among those arrested are a nephew of Catalan president Quim Torra and a photojournalist who has worked for El Nacional.
On 1st October 2018, the anniversary of the independence referendum, the CDR (Committees for Defence of the Republic) carried out a number of protests, including blocking train lines.
The president's nephew, Ernest Morell, was reportedly arrested as he left work this afternoon in Breda, a small town between Girona and Barcelona, El Nacional has learnt from sources close to Morell. He has since been released. He was fifth on CUP's list of candidates for Santa Coloma de Farners in the last municipal election. President Torra has explained on several occasions that he has close relatives who belong to the CDR, which has been used by opposition parties to attack him.
Earlier, photojournalist Carles Palacio, who has worked regularly for El Nacional, had been arrested while leaving a cafe on Girona's plaça Independència ("Independence Square"). Six agents of the Spanish police were involved. He has since also been released from custody, facing public disorder charges.
Palacio was leaving the cafe alongside fellow photojournalist Jordi Borràs around 4.30pm this afternoon. They heard shouts and a number of plainclothes officers arrested him. He was taken away in an unmarked car.
⚠️ ALERTA. Quatre homes de paisà acaben de detenir el fotoperiodista @CarlesPalacio col·laborador de @La_Directa. Sortíem tots dos d’un bar quan l’han agafat i l’han posat dins un cotxe pic.twitter.com/YyvRHKjGjN— Jordi Borràs (@jordiborras) 16 janvier 2019
He has been accused of public disorder over the blocking of the AVE high-speed train tracks in Girona on 1st October last year, having been identified in images of the day. That day, Palacio was on the scene covering events for El Nacional. Photos and video he took that day can be seen in this report in Catalan.
Only this morning, he had been Girona outside its police station covering the Spanish police's arrests of two town mayors and nine others.
During his interrogation by Spanish police in Girona police station, he called on his right to remain silent, responding only to a question from his lawyer, Benet Salellas, about why he was on the train tracks that day. He explained that he was there working for El Nacional. He says the police showed him the photo in which he was identified and said that his orange media armband and camera were clearly visible in it. Police bagged his camera and other property and returned it to him on his release.
At least three others have been arrested in the same series of events, all activists linked to the pro-independence movement.