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Police uncover Vuelta a España protest plot to pour "400 litres of liquid" onto route

Four suspects believed to be planning a pro-independence protest as the race visited Catalunya were arrested

Police in Spain revealed how officers uncovered a plot to protest during the Vuelta a España by pouring "400 litres of liquid" onto the route of yesterday's stage as the peloton passed.

Media outlets in Spain have reported that four men were arrested on Saturday when suspected of planning a pro-independence protest during Monday's stage through the region, but have now been granted provisional release from custody.

Spain's national police force, Policía Nacional, has this morning tweeted a video of officers finding a "mechanism" hidden on a bridge above a road used by the race. Two drums with 400 litres of liquid — that the police said was similar to motor oil — were found attached to a pipe that would pour the liquid "on the road as the peloton passed".

The police also confirmed to Reuters that the protesters are members of a group known as CDR that is seeking the independence of Catalunya.

The post read: "With this mechanism they intended to sabotage yesterday's stage of La Vuelta. Two drums with 400 litres of liquid that they intended to throw on the road as the peloton passed. Four people arrested red-handed in Lleida."

The latest update about the suspects being released, reported by The Olive Press, comes after a spokesperson for Alerta Solidària, an organisation which supports pro-independence activism, had claimed that its lawyers were prevented from being with the men while their statements were taken.

However, according to this morning's reports, the men have now been released from custody by a judge in Lleida, who imposed a restraining order preventing them from being within 500m of the race, which returns to Catalunya from Andorra on today's fourth stage, expected to be a sprint finish in Tarragona.

The Catalan High Court stated they are facing charges of public disorder, environmental crimes, road safety offences and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Protest action had been expected during the Vuelta's visit, the Òmnium Cultural group which describes itself as the "civil society entity that works every day for the language, the culture, and the country" in Catalunya, posted on social media last week, calling for followers to "take advantage of this event with international resonance".

There was however, no suggestion that the "action" Òmnium Cultural suggested would be anything more than peaceful roadside protest, although risk management platform Crisis 24 warned that the activist group had called for protest action, which "may include attempts to halt the race".

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Off the back | 8 months ago
1 like

You wouldn't notice if they had. The amount of riders who've ended up sliding on their arses in the first few days

Paul J | 8 months ago

These Just Dump Oil protests are getting ridiculous.

RoubaixCube replied to Paul J | 8 months ago

oil believe it when i see it.

Paul J replied to RoubaixCube | 8 months ago

If these aren't stopped you just encourage more. It's a slippery slope.

Car Delenda Est replied to Paul J | 8 months ago

Agreed, anything less would be pedalling accelerationism

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