Protests Erupt in Catalonia After Former Leaders Are Jailed

Michele Moreno
November 3, 2017

The ousted leader reacted to the events at Spain's National Court in Madrid as thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest at the jailings.

When nine members of the deposed Catalan government appeared before the high court as part of its investigation into alleged sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds, the judge had the option of releasing them, pending trial.

Spain's state prosecutor had asked the judge to issue such a warrant earlier in the day.

"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a handsome European nation is outrageous and is threatening us all", Mr Puigdemont said, adding that Catalonia's independence is "no longer an internal affair" of Spain. The charges follow Catalonia's October 1 independence referendum, ruled illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court. On Tuesday, the Spanish government said Catalonia will have a regional election in December.

But if those Catalan politicians appearing in court are denied bail it will cause further anger among those who want Catalonia to break away, our correspondent adds.

Puigdemont and four ex-ministers are in Brussels and have ignored the summonses.

"The defendants have played an active role by propelling the carefully designed secessionist process and overcoming all kinds of obstacles that could make them deviate from their final objective", the judge said in the ruling that sent the defendants to jail.

They include regional parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell, and 14 ousted Catalan government ministers including Mr Puigdemont.

The crimes being probed are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish law.

Eight of the nine were jailed without possibility of bail while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement following the regional parliament's declaration of secession from Spain last week.

The court summons also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2m ($7.2m) to cover potential liabilities.

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