One of the big scandals around here is the recent behavior of the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan regional police. (Note: Mossos d'Esquadra literally translates to "Boys of the Squad," which is about as gay and retarded a name for a police force as I've ever heard.) The last glob of poo to hit the fan is a hidden-camera video showing the Mossos beating up a Russian immigrant woman, who had done nothing wrong but come home drunk and make too much noise, at the Les Corts police station.
This is ironic for two reasons. 1) Catalonia and the Basque Country, as far as I know, are the only two Spanish autonomous regions to have their own police forces, supplanting the Policia Nacional and the Guardia Civil in most or all of their roles. This is something that Catalan nationalists have demanded for a long time, and they've finally gotten it, since the Mossos have taken over policing duties in nearly all of Catalonia. We were promised that real Catalan-speaking police would somehow be better than those nasty Spanish cops. It hasn't turned out that way.
2) Joan Saura himself, the leader of the Catalan Communist-Green coalition, is the interior counselor, in charge of the police. This guy and his wife Chemical Inma Mayol go around telling the squatters that they're against the system too. Saura and Mayol mouth every single stereotypically politically correct ideal that a Guardian reader would cream his jeans over, and now it's Saura in charge of the cops when they start beating up the citizens.
The Mossos have been involved in at least a dozen scandals lately, besides the beating of the Russian immigrant, which most certainly did happen because it's on video. There was the schizo they shot a few weeks back; I'm prepared to admit the cop did the right thing in that case, but it didn't look good around here. Last week some gypsy punk kid they arrested for his umpteenth robbery kicked out the back window of a moving Mossos car, jumped out, and got himself killed. Why wasn't he properly restrained and kept under control? This one is partly the Mossos' fault for negligence, and the story I've given of what happened is theirs. It may or may not be what happened. Normally I believe the police, but there's been too much smoke lately for there not to be a little bit of fire as well.
There was another beating at the Roquetes police station a couple of weeks before this latest one of the Russian woman. The riot squad's use of "kubotans" (which I have no problem with) against rioters pissed off all the squatters and their sympathizers on the way-out left. Something a little strange that got media publicity: some old lady in Barcelona got lost and a patrol of Mossos didn't help her, they dumped her on a cabbie who figured out what to do by himself and got her home. All added up, it doesn't look too good.
And, get this, the Mossos have held several ILLEGAL demonstrations, without a judicial or municipal permit, to demand their labor rights. Naturally, none of them got arrested.