The parliament of Catalunya is calm today but surrounded by heavy security forces, following yesterday's confrontations between the Catalan police and protestors (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The Ciutadella Park, where the parliament building is located, remains closed to the public after the riots, in which six people were arrested (see below) and 45 people were injured, although not seriously. The Mossos d'Esquadra have kept in place their cordon to provide access to the parliament for deputies and staff, on the second day of debate regarding the Generalitat's 2011 budgets. Up to 3,000 indignados took part in the protests against Catalan politicians, which started on Tuesday evening when hundreds of people gathered at the park, which led to its initial closure. During Wednesday's incidents, there were moments of high tension when deputies tried to get into the parliament, during which some were physically attacked or with spray paint, which resulted in some politicians being transported in using police vans or helicopter. In the afternoon, the protest moved to Plaça Sant Jaume, the seat of the Generalitat as well as the city council, where around 1,000 indignados gathered. As such, deputies were able to leave the parliament at the end of the day without problems. Later in the evening, a number of protestors gathered in front of the Mossos d'Esquadra station in Les Corts to demand the release of those arrested.
Despite the incidents outside the parliament, the Generalitat budget for 2011, featuring a series of cuts, passed its first stage yesterday thanks to support for the governing Convergència i Unió (CiU) party from the Partido Popular (PP), in an agreement nicknamed 'pepevergència' (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Representatives of the two parties delivered speeches praising each other and passing criticism at the "progressive wave" in the chamber. The PP stuck to its promise of abstaining in the vote on the budget, which meant that the bill could be admitted. This move came four days after CiU helped them take over the councils of Badalona and Castelldefels, as well as opening the door to them co-governing at the provincial Diputació de Barcelona administration.
The Catalan police force is studying whether to bring official charges against the six people arrested during yesterday's confrontations at the Catalan parliament (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). They could be charged with disturbing the peace and resisting authority. In addition, according to the Catalan radio station RAC1, the Generalitat's interior ministry is also studying images of the events to see if it is possible to identify those responsible for intimidating and attacking various members of parliament while trying to access the building. If the Mossos can identify those responsible, arrest them and bring charges, anyone found guilty could face up to four years in prison, as set out in the Spanish Penal Code. There are particular articles in the code regarding riots and altercations at government buildings that affect their day-to-day business, with punishments including fines and prison terms of up to a year. However, the more serious charge concerns attacks on public employees when they are trying to carry out their duties, whether they be by intimidation or physical force. In this case, the punishment is a prison sentence of two to four years.