The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and members of the Catalan Government and the different security forces have informed the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his deputy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, of the situation created by the terrorist attack Catalonia suffered yesterday.
This came during a meeting of the crisis cabinet that the Catalan executive opened yesterday to tackle the situation. It was the the first time that representatives of the Spanish government had taken part, almost 24 hours after the large-scale vehicle attack on the Rambla. Rajoy had, both last night and this morning, met with leaders of the national security forces who had informed him of the situation.
In attendance at the crisis meeting, as well as the Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, members of the Catalan Government and the police commanders that have attended since it was begun, were Rajoy, Santamaría, the Spanish Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, and Spanish government's representative to Catalonia, Enric Millo.
Until midday today, when the two leaders attended the minute's silence in Barcelona's plaça Catalunya, Rajoy had limited himself to making a telephone call to Puigdemont. He had mentioned this telephone call in his statement to the press at 12:30am this morning at the Spanish government's delegation in Catalonia, his first public appearance since the attack just before 5pm.
Puigdemont opens the meeting
President Puigdemont opened the meeting highlighting the importance of transmitting a message of the security and confidence to the public. He also highlighted the “I'm not scared” slogan that people were shouting in the streets which he said demonstrates once again that Catalans have demonstrated that the best answer to barbarous terrorism is solidarity, coexistence and respect for all.
He then ceded the floor and the leadership of the meeting to the head of the Spanish executive, who emphatically praised the work carried out by the police, and highlighted the need to give a coordinated response to the terrorist threat.
Rajoy then recognised the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, who spoke, followed by the different police forces to give updates on the situation. A representative of the Catalan Interior ministry's Civil Protection body also spoke to detail the resources activated to attend to the victims and their families.
In the joint public appearance by Rajoy and Puigdemont, the Spanish president insisted on highlighting the need to continue working together and to inspire confidence. "It is very important that we are able to work together, to exchange whatever necessary and to act like one team," Rajoy said. He also announced that tomorrow the commission in charge of deciding whether to increase the alert level in Spain will meet and that on Monday the members of the cross-party Anti-Terrorist Pact will gather.
For his part, Puigdemont has highlighted their duty to give confidence and calm to the public. On that subject, he has praised the response from the streets. "We have gotten up dismayed, it's true, but we have risen determined to win the battle against terrorism, with the best weapon of our society, solidarity, coexistence, freedom and respect," he said.
Both presidents appeared at the Interior ministry, where the crisis committee meets, in front of the Spanish and Catalan flags, and watched by members of the two executives who took part in the meeting. This afternoon, Rajoy plans on returning to Madrid.