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There's been a new warning from the Spanish government of the PP (Popular Party). The government spokesman, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, has warned in The Times that his government will appeal to the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) to "enforce the law" in case there are protests that threaten public order once article 155 of the Constitution is applied.

"No government wants any act of violence, but the [Spanish] government has to ensure that the law is obeyed, and if there are people who do not want to obey the law on the other side, then the Mossos d'Esquadra will have to restore it," said Vigo.

As they have already repeated from different posts of the PP, the minister of culture explained that, after prior authorisation of the Senate, article 155 does not "suspend the autonomy", but "what we do is restore it". To do this, he said, "those who run the Mossos d'Esquadra will be replaced by the [Spanish] Ministry of Interior for the time being".

The Times reports that the courts are already investigating the actions of the Mossos on the day of the referendum of 1st October, and refers to the moments of tension between agents of the Catalan police and of the Civil Guard or the National Police. As stressed by Vigo, the intention of the Spanish government is to restore the "neutrality" of the Catalan government.

Request to rectify

After The Times published its report, the minister asked for a rectification, as he considered that the newspaper had "misinterpreted" his words. According to what he said, "no government wants an act of violence, but the [Spanish] government wants to make sure that the law is obeyed, and if there are people on the other side who do not want to obey the law, then, through the Mossos d'Esquadra, we will have to restore legality".

Vigo stressed that he "never" said that the Mossos, or the Spanish police "were going to use violence" in Catalonia and, moreover, the spokseman for Mariano Rajoy's government would have said that his government "will avoid all acts of violence".

Precisely for that, he stressed that "there is no doubt about the position of the Spanish government because Spain is and democratic state of law".