How Catalonia's Bid for Independence From Spain Unfolded

Geneva Matthews
November 6, 2017

Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was taken into custody in Belgium on Sunday, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor said.

Puigdemont and his fellow separatists claimed that a referendum on secession held on October 1 gave them a mandate for independence, even though it had been prohibited by the nation's highest court and only 43 percent of the electorate took part in the vote, which failed to meet worldwide standards and was disrupted by violent police raids. Dejemeppe said that the entire process from arrest to extradition, could take more than 60 days.

A senior official of Mr Puigdemont's party, the centre-right Democratic Party of Catalonia, said on Sunday that the party wanted Mr Puigdemont to continue as its candidate. Puigdemont says he will agree to take part in an early regional election scheduled for December 21.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the self-proclaimed "legitimate government of Catalonia" said that Puigdemont and his four colleagues would remain in Belgium during the court proceedings in order to denounce "a political trial carried out according to the Spanish government's directive".

Puigdemont and four of his associates who fled to Belgium in the aftermath were wanted by Madrid on charges of rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, disobedience and breach of trust relating to Catalonia's independence campaign.

In response, the Spanish Senate triggered Article 155, stripping the Catalan government of power.

A Spanish national court issued European Arrest Warrants for the five separatist politicians on suspicion of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement on Friday. A ninth spent a night in jail and was freed after posting bail. They fled to Brussels after Madrid's central government imposed direct rule over the autonomous region.

DW reporter Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, who was at the scene, said demonstrators chanted "We are not afraid" as they waited for the return of the six Catalan officials who appeared in the Supreme Court.

"If we add the issue of independence, we won't get as many people to support us", said Mas, who was the first Catalan leader to harness the political momentum for secession.

Puigdemont married a fellow journalist, Marcela Topor, in 2000 and together they have two daughters.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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