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Spain's acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez yesterday made a lightning visit to Catalonia. The surprise visit was announced by the Moncloa government palace shortly before 8am; before 1:30pm they had announced that he had already left again.

The object of the visit was to show support to the police deployed in Catalonia during this week's protests. He spoke to officers at Spanish National Police Corps headquarters in Barcelona and visited injured agents in Sagrat Cor and Sant Pau hospitals. He did not visit any of the protesters or journalists who have been injured, nor did he meet with any representatives of the Catalan government. His itinerary was kept secret, even from the press.

Protesters, including many doctors and nurses, were heard to chant slogans like "release political prisoners" and "no shame" at the prime minister.

Many of the arrangements suggested a certain nervousness from Sánchez's team about the trip, from how short it was to how late it was announced and how few details were given. One of his bodyguards was even seen driving away from one of the hospitals with what appears to be a submachine gun, ready for use, through an open car window.

Despite multiple requests from president Torra, Sánchez has not answered his phone calls. On the other hand, he did speak by phone whilst on the way to Barcelona with the city's mayor Ada Colau (Catalunya en Comú) and the president of the Deputation of Barcelona, Núria Marín (PSOE).

After one of their failed attempts to get in touch with the Spanish prime minister, a film crew from Catalan public broadcaster TV3 filmed Torra's reaction. When his adviser Pere Cardús told him the news, the president said "és increïble... quins collons", loosely "it's incredible, what cheek".

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