Spanish Guardia Civil police officers raided Diplocat, the Catalan public diplomacy council, on Thursday morning. The operation was ordered by the Barcelona court investigating the preparations for the October 1 independence referendum.

Diplocat was shut down last October, when the Spanish government suspended Catalonia’s self-rule and removed its government. Diplocat was a public-private partnership aimed at fostering dialogue and building relationships between Catalonia and the rest of the world.

Diplocat’s former communications chief, Martí Estruch, dismissed the police raid as a “propaganda operation” aimed at putting the institution on the spot a day after it finally closes its doors. “Tomorrow, Diplocat is ending its activity and the Spanish government probably wants to show everybody how effective they are” he said.

No new information

“They’re raiding the building in search of computers, phones, mobile phones… They are looking for information” said Estruch, and he stressed that “they’ve been here before so if there is any kind of information they already have it”.

The local Barcelona court in charge of the referendum preparations case has already ordered raids on the main pro-independence civic organizations ANC and Òmnium, some Catalan administration offices and the Catalan Telecommunications and IT center (CTTI), among others, in the past few months.

Around 30 officials are under investigation in this court. Meanwhile, Spain’s Supreme Court is prosecuting another 30 people related to the independence cause — the most senior ones being Puigdemont and his ministers — with Spain’s National Court overseeing an open inquiry into the Catalan police leadership.

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