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The Catalan interior minister, Joan Ignasi Elena, has sent a letter to his Spanish counterpart, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, to ask him "with the utmost urgency" to activate the protection service for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, exiled in Belgium since the end of 2017. This Monday, the director of president Puigdemont's office, Josep Lluís Alay, again demanded from Elena that the exiled Catalan leader be "immediately and urgently" assigned the security escort that he is entitled to in his capacity as the 130th president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. A few hours later, in a response very different to those given to similar requests in recent years, the acting Spanish government assured that the president's request would be processed. This Tuesday morning, the Catalan government spokesperson affirmed that all the formalities had been carried out to appoint a bodyguard, and hours later the minister Elena shared the letter he sent to Fernando Grande-Marlaska. "President Carles Puigdemont should have had an escort from day one. Six years later, the Spanish government says it is rectifying. That is why I am asking the minister Marlaska again with the utmost urgency," the Catalan minister wrote in a post on the social media X.

Spanish government's change of mind on Puigdemont's bodyguard

"As you well know, taking into account the application of the Statute of Former Presidents of the Generalitat of Catalonia, it is up to the Catalan government to determine the security services that are considered necessary," Elena reminded Marlaska in this text. He also took the opportunity to remind the Spanish minister that until now "all requests raised by Catalan ministers Miquel Buch, Miquel Sàmper and myself have been rejected by the Spanish government". Now, after the earlier words of the acting presidency minister in Madrid, Félix Bolaños, who affirmed that Puigdemont's request is justified because "the lack of safety persists" and "bearing very much in mind the increase in the level of danger and risk", Elena detected a "significant change with respect to the position maintained in recent years". For this reason, he asked Marlaska "as a matter of urgency" for this security service to be activated for the president in Belgium.

"President Puigdemont, like any ex-president, requires an adequate and well-sized protection service", the Catalan minister says in his letter and, referring to the relevant article of the Spanish security forces law, he asks Marlaska to give the necessary instructions to make effective the compliance with this article, which includes the procedure for the protection of public authorities outside the Spanish territory. He also asks the Spanish interior ministry to begin the procedures to transfer "the regulation weapons of the officers who will have to provide the services" to Belgian territory. Yesterday, sources from the ministry confirmed to that they had received Josep Lluís Alay's letter and reported that the department's intention was to make the request again to the ministry to facilitate providing the president with bodyguard services, as has ended up happening today.