Catalan protesters clash with police over Puigdemont arrest

Catalan protesters clash with police over Puigdemont arrest

Catalan protesters clash with police over Puigdemont arrest

German police on Sunday arrested Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont as he crossed the border with Denmark by vehicle after Spain's Supreme Court vowed to prosecute 13 key separatists over their breakaway bid.

He was detained by police after he crossed the border into Germany from Denmark, Puigdemont's lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, wrote on Twitter.

On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held a referendum on the region's independence from Spain.

The Catalan parliament's subsequent declaration of independence received no worldwide recognition and provoked a takeover of the regional government by Spanish authorities that they say won't be lifted until a new government that respects Spain's Constitution is in place.

Catalan protesters clash with police over Puigdemont arrest

Dpa reported that deputy state prosecutor Ralph Doepper, who is based in the northern town of Schleswig, said that a German court would likely decide by Monday whether Puigdemont would remain in custody pending the outcome of his extradition case.

His spokesperson Joan Maria Pique told Reuteurs news agency "the president was going to Belgium to put himself, as always, at the disposal of Belgian justice".

Thousands answered the call by a pro-independence grassroots group to protest in the city centre hours after Puigdemont was detained by German police.

German magazine Focus said Spanish intelligence informed the BKA federal police that Puigdemont was on his way from Finland to Germany.

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On Saturday, his lawyer confirmed that he left the country to go back to Brussels, where he lives in self-imposed exile. He faces up to 25 years in prison for organising the illegal referendum on secession last year. After the report in the official newspaper of the Spanish government, the power in Catalonia passed to the government in Madrid.

Puigdemont's supporters, however, lamented his capture and said they hoped Germany won't honour Spain's extradition request.

Puigdemont was crossing from Denmark on the way to Belgium when he was detained by a highway patrol Sunday morning in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, German police said.

Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the pro-Spain Citizens party which has the most seats in Catalonia's Parliament, said that the chaos on the streets was "of a society broken in two" by the secessionist movement.

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The grounds for pulling Puigdemont over in Germany on Sunday were a European arrest warrant, police said.

13 other separatist politicians were charged with similar offences in Spain last week.

He gave up his quest to reclaim the presidency earlier this month.

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