CORONAVIRUS

Spanish authorities arrest 926 people for breaking rules of lockdown

Interior minister says most residents are observing the conditions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but points out that a four-month sentence has already been handed down to one offender

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska during a press conference.
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska during a press conference. / POOL MONCLOA

Since the Spanish Cabinet implemented a state of alarm 10 days ago, essentially confining residents of the country to their homes in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, there have been 926 arrests and 102,000 police reports filed for disobedience. That was according to Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who supplied the information on Tuesday at a press conference.

The minister began by expressing his condolences over the latest death among the ranks of the Civil Guard

The situation in Spain due to the global coronavirus pandemic has caused 2,937 deaths so far, according to the latest figures, and more than 41,900 infections. A total of 3,800 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital, while there are 2,636 patients currently in intensive care.

The minister began his appearance before the press by expressing his condolences over the latest death among the ranks of the Civil Guard due to the Covid-19 disease. Officer Jose Ántonio, 47, was stationed in the Madrid city of Aranjuez. He is the third civil guard to die from the coronavirus. Marlaska also lamented the death of an inmate in the Estremera prison, also due to Covid-19.

Marlaska went on to explain that despite there being 130 new arrests and more than 20,000 new police reports on Tuesday alone, the majority of Spain’s residents were respecting the rules of the royal decree that has imposed the lockdown.

However, Marlaska explained that one person has already been sentenced for disobeying authority under the extreme conditions: a four-month sentence has been handed down by a court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Canary Island of Tenerife. “That shows that the penalties for acts that lack solidarity can be up to four months of prison,” he said on Tuesday.

Civil Guard associations have been complaining that they lack proper personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves

Civil Guard associations have been complaining that they lack proper personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, and lament the deaths among their ranks and the number of officers who are being forced to take sick leave. But Marlaska insisted on Tuesday that all members of the state security forces had the protection measures necessary to carry out their functions, and said that they would be receiving new equipment so that they continued to be protected.

Marlaska did not, however, respond to a question asking whether the latest civil guard to die from Covid-19 had access to these materials while carrying out his duties.

The minister also pointed out that there were currently “dozens” of cyberattacks being detected, seeking to take advantage of the situation caused by the pandemic.

He also said that when it came to the possibility of releasing migrants being held in Spain’s CIE migrant holding centers, “each case” would have to be examined “on an individual basis.”

English version by Simon Hunter.