Spanish police detained nine activists connected to the pro-independence movement in Catalonia, Reuters reported on Monday September 23rd.
Officials believe that the activists, who were arrested in Barcelona, might have been preparing violent atrocities, as they seized material that could be used to create explosives. Spanish attorneys are pressing for charges of “rebellion, terrorism and possession of explosives” against the activists.
"We have found abundant material and substances which are considered precursors for the manufacture of explosives, susceptible (pending confirmation by specialists) of being used in the manufacture of explosive devices," the Police stated.
According to AP, a declaration from the Civil Guard police said the operation in the province of Barcelona was part of an investigation into the self-proclaimed Committees for the Defence of the Republic, a grassroots organisation that promotes the independence of Catalonia, in the north-west, from Spain.
Police stated that they conducted 10 raids and confiscated abundant materials that they think could be used to make explosives. They said that more arrests could be made.
"So far, nine arrests have been made and 10 raids have been carried out in the province of Barcelona, with the purpose of locating and, where appropriate, seizing evidence of the degree of preparation of violent actions," police said in the statement.
The purpose of the raids was collecting evidence to demonstrate the CDR’s “advanced preparation for terrorist acts in connection with their secessionist aims,” the National Court prosecutors clarified, according to The Washington Post.
The civil guard under instruction from an audiencia nacional (national court) conducted the arrests in different locations in Barcelona, The Guardian reported. They are concerned about dealing with critical crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime.
The statement from the police did not give full information, but mentioned that there was a judicial confidentiality blanket on the case.
For years, the movement calling for the separation of Catalonia from Spain has been a significant challenge for the nation, causing its greatest political crisis in centuries with a short-lived declaration of independence in 2017.
In a bid to mark the one-year anniversary of the region's independence referendum last year, CDR members occupied a train station in the Catalan city of Girona, forcing train cancellations and delays, whilst blocking highways and snarling traffic.
They later tried to storm parliament but failed.