Spain Catalonia: Five separatist leaders detained

Posted March 25, 2018

Emergency services said 24 people were lightly injured in clashes between police and demonstrators.

Jordi Turull, the man set to run for the Presidency of Cataluña in a parliamentary vote tomorrow, reportedly arrived at the Supreme Court in tears this afternoon.

Judge Llarena also reactivated European arrests warrants for six others who are in self-imposed exile, including former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont who is in Belgium.

Marta Rovira, the head of the Catalan Republican Left party who was also summoned to the High Court, announced Friday she had left Spain to live in exile in Switzerland.

Following the declaration, Spanish Judge Pablo Llarena ordered detention without bail for Jordi Turull, the president of Catalonia's regional government.

Llarena said the five detainees posed a serious flight risk and could seek to push ahead with their plans for unilateral independence if allowed to remain at liberty.

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The state of Catalonia declared independence from Spain in October past year after there was friction between the regional and national governments.

Judge Llarena is reactivating an arrest warrant that he dropped previous year against Mr. Puigdemont and other former members of his cabinet, amid concerns that courts in Belgium, where he fled, would instead soften the charges against them.

Llarena's prison orders bring the total number of jailed separatist Catalan leaders to nine.

Later on Friday, Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent said he would read a statement in support of those in prison in the parliamentary session.

He failed to get a majority of votes in the Catalan Parliament because he was not endorsed by the smallest of the three separatist parties that hold a narrow majority of seats in the assembly.

Thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Catalonia late on Friday after Spain's supreme court detained five separatist leaders for their role in last year's independence bid.

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The extraordinary development brought elation to most of the families, but more heartache for the relatives of the six girls still unaccounted for.

This would entail fewer calls for engagement with Madrid and the heightening tensions between the regional and federal governments.

That declaration then led to the Spanish authorities imposing direct rule over the region, a situation which has so far lasted five months with Catalonia's autonomy suspended.

Parliament rules say he could have a second chance to be elected on Saturday, when only a simple majority of more "Yes" than "No" votes would be required to make him Catalonia's next president.

Earlier, representatives of the parties standing for Spain's territorial integrity also demanded to cancel the vote.

Opposition leader Ines Arrimadas of the Citizens party chided the separatists for not presenting a candidate free of legal problems, which the Spanish government has said is a prerequisite for it ending its takeover of Catalonia's regional affairs.

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The poll questioned 772 registered voters March 11 to Friday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. And voters opposed, 69 percent to 28 percent, allowing teachers to be licensed to carry concealed firearms in schools.