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Charges against former Catalan police chief reduced to sedition

Charges against the chief of Catalonia's police force during the Spanish region's failed 2017 independence bid have been downgraded from rebellion to sedition, the prosecutor said as the trial of Josep Lluis Trapero resumed on Monday.

Charges against former Catalan police chief reduced to sedition
Catalonia's police force chief Josep Lluis Trapero. Photo: AFP

During the October 1st independence referendum, which was banned by Madrid, prosecutors say the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police force demonstrated “total passivity” under Trapero's watch, while Spain's national police led a crackdown using batons and firing rubber bullets in a bid to stop voters.

Another Mossos director and a senior official of Catalonia's regional interior ministry have also had their charges downgraded while a fourth had already been charged initially with sedition.

The officials face a 10-year jail term if they are found guilty of sedition although the prosecutor also indicated that, if not proven, the charge might be reduced further still to disobedience.

The alteration of the charges follows the decision of the Supreme Court in October to dismiss the charge of rebellion against the nine separatist leaders, finding them guilty of sedition.

The trial, which began in January, had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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STRIKES

Doctors, teachers and taxi drivers strike across Catalonia

Wednesday is due to be a difficult day in Catalonia with planned stoppages across three different sectors in health, education, and taxi services.

Doctors, teachers and taxi drivers strike across Catalonia

Medical staff

The union Metges de Catalunya has called for five days of strikes for doctors and medical staff across Catalonia on Wednesday, January 25th and Thursday, January 26th, as well as February 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

They are demanding more resources and personnel for the Catalan public health system and between 25 to 28 patient appointments per work shift of 12 minutes each.

READ ALSO – Key dates: How planned health service strikes in Spain could affect you

After an unsuccessful meeting on Tuesday, January 24th to try and resolve issues and further talks on Wednesday morning that didn’t lead to any resolution, 25,000 health professionals from health centers and hospitals across the region have been called to strike. They have not demonstrated en masse like this in Catalonia since 2018.

Some 500 nurses and midwives also took to the streets on Tuesday, January 24th to ask for better working conditions. Their protest continues this Wednesday, when both nurses and doctors have gathered to march to Sants train station, where they are due to arrive at midday. 

The regional government has agreed to guarantee urgent health care as well as that of the neonatal units and vital chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Teachers

Teachers and other educational professionals have also been called to strike with two days of planned walkouts on Wednesday, January 25th and Thursday, January 26th.

After a series of unproductive negotiations with the Minister of Education, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, the unions Ustec, CCOO and UGT decided to go ahead with the stoppages.  

The unions have said that the simultaneous strikes in education and health make perfect sense as they are “two pillars” of society that should be a priority for the government.

The union Ustec demands that the regional government should invest 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in public education as established by the Education Law of Catalonia. They are also asking to reduce the ratios in the classes and improve the working conditions of educational professionals. 

Schools will remain open during these days, however, and minimum services have been established such as guaranteeing 50 percent of the staff in special education centers and nurseries.

Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers have also joined in the protests and will stage a four-hour strike on Barcelona’s Gran Via this Wednesday, against driver apps such as Free Now, Uber and Bolt.

Negotiations between The Elite Taxi union and the city council broke down last week and the union has called drivers to gather from 10am to 2pm on Gran Via with Plaza Tetuán and on Passeig de Gràcia.

Taxi drivers will also be voting on whether to protest during the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) and Mobile World Congress fairs. ISE will be held from January 1st to February 3rd and Mobile World Congress from February 27th to March 2nd.  

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