The Spanish government refuses to give out information on the deployment of extra police officers in Catalonia over the past few weeks. Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet decided to send thousands of officers to Catalonia in the run-up to the October 1 referendum. Their baton charges on the day of the vote caused around 900 injuries, according to the health services, and the police officers are still in the country. However, the exact amount of officers and the cost of the police operation have not been disclosed. According to El País newspaper, Madrid has classified the operation as a “state secret.”

Some lawmakers in the Spanish Congress have inquired about the operation, named ‘Copernicus’. The response they got was that the Spanish Law of Official Secrets states that the “security plans of the institutions and public authorities” are classified as ‘private’, so they are not obliged to share information about it.

There are still several unresolved questions about the matter. For instance, the exact number of extra officers deployed in Catalonia has not been disclosed. The total cost of the operation is not known either. Some media published that the Spanish Home Affairs ministry estimated that the deployment of officers from the end of September until October 5 would cost 31.7 million euro.

Yet the operation has been extended and some thousands of officers are still in Catalonia. Some of them are staying in hotels, some in barracks, while the rest are bunked up in three vessels docked in Barcelona and Tarragona ports. One of the vessels was decorated with ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoons, such as Tweety, which has sparked mockery among citizens in social media.

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Vicent Partal
Director de VilaWeb