The Catalan government has called for the head of Spain's Civil Guard in Catalonia, general Pedro Garrido, to be immediately fired over his controversial statements yesterday. That's what presidency minister and spokesperson Meritxell Budó has written in a letter to acting Spanish deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo.
Garrido said this Wednesday that although the independence movement and terrorism "are not the same", "the so-called revolutionary smiles [of the "Revolution of Smiles", as the independence movement is sometimes called] turn, easier than one could think or want, [...] into rictus grins capable of generating destruction, pain and suffering."
He said that the Civil Guard had shown its "commitment to Spain" two years ago, referring to the Catalan referendum when they made a controversial use of force, and that "every time it may be necessary we'll do it again". The officer also put into question the actions by senior officers of the Mossos, Catalonia's police force, during that period in 2017.
Catalan interior ministry officials and Mossos police officers present at yesterday's ceremony protested at the time by walking out. Now, the government wants to emphasise its "profound unease and complete rejection" of Garrido's "unfortunate" remarks.
Budó argues that his words were offensive "not just to the almost 17,000" current members of the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, "but also [...] to all Catalans". She also says that "it's not appropriate for a high-ranking officer of a police force to make statements with political content", and suggests Garrido failed to "scrupulously respect the presumption of innocence" in open cases.
The Catalan government writes that "professionalism and neutrality" is expected of the Civil Guard, and that the relationships between police forces should be "based on mutual trust with the aim of guaranteeing the safety of all Catalans". They suggest Garrido's comments were a "provocation", especially with the release of the Supreme Court's verdicts in the trial of pro-independence leaders imminent.