Spanish police sources told Reuters on Sunday that a military officer was arrested for possession of a pistol at a protest against an amnesty law that would drop all charges against the Catalan separatists involved in the failed 2017 Catalan independence referendum.
Spanish media reported that the man arrested is a second lieutenant stationed at the Zaragoza Military Academy training base. A pistol that was not for military use was seized by the police at one of the security checkpoints at Marqués de Urquijo Street, where all individuals attending the protest were searched by the police.
Articles 28 and 29 of the Spanish Citizens’ Security Law provide that it is the government’s responsibility to regulate the requirements and conditions of the possession and use of weapons, and the government is to apply necessary control measures by “[e]stablishing the mandatory possession of licenses, permits or authorizations” for their possession and use. Under the Citizens’ Security Law, the second lieutenant could face a fine of up to 30,000 euros if convicted.
Notably, this was the 16th day of the ongoing protests against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s amnesty deal with Catalan separatists. On Saturday, around 170,000 protesters marched through Madrid, constituting the largest protest yet against the amnesty law, just two days after Sánchez won another term as Prime Minister with a 179-seat majority on November 16.
After the inconclusive elections held in July, where no party had won a majority, Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) signed an agreement with the pro-Catalan independence party, Together for Catalonia (Junts). As an exchange for the Catalan separatists’ votes for Sánchez at the congress, Sánchez agreed to drop all charges against the Catalan separatists convicted in relation to the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.
The right-wing Spanish People’s Party (PP), which has been leading the protests against the amnesty law, called the deal between the government and the Catalan separatists “a democratic anomaly,” whereas Sánchez has asked for “sanity and restraint from the PP” and for them to accept the result of the polls.