Spanish gov't rejects latest plan to elect Catalan leader

  • Spanish gov't rejects latest plan to elect Catalan leader

Spanish gov't rejects latest plan to elect Catalan leader

Some parts of the crowd clashed with police and Spanish media report that more than 20 people were treated for minor injured.

Former Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell, left, separatist politician Dolors Bassa, center and former Cabinet member Raul Romeva arrive at the Supreme Court in Madrid.

In a court ruling issued Friday, Judge Llarena said that 25 Catalans in total will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience.

Puigdemont voiced his support for Rovira and the other Catalans charged, on a Twitter message which said they were being indicted by people "who don't understand democracy".

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

Among those prosecuted are Catalonia's sacked president Carles Puigdemont and his designated successor, Jordi Turull.If found guilty, they face up to 30 years in prison. "It is not right for a judge to do politics", Mr Puigdemont said.

Last October, after separatist lawmakers declared independence, Mr. Rajoy used emergency constitutional powers to oust Mr. Puigdemont's administration and place Catalonia under direct rule from Madrid.

The court decisions further inflamed the protesters in Barcelona, some of whom burnt pictures of King Felipe VI, a crime in Spain, as well as photos of judge Llarena.

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.

Candidate Jordi Turull, a former minister in the previous Catalan government, fell short of the absolute majority needed due to a division within the three parties who seek independence for the northeastern region.

The Supreme Court Judge, Pablo Llarena, ruled on Friday that they should be returned to jail as they represented a flight risk. She issued a letter explaining why she had chosen "the path of exile", but Judge Llarena later added her name to his list of global arrest warrants.

The five join four other Catalan leaders already in prison.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had in December called for snap elections in Catalonia.

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

The separatist majority failed to elect a regional government in a Thursday vote.

Wild protests have erupted in the Basque region of Barcelona after a Spanish High Court detained five Catalan politicians for their role in the region's secessionist bid staged in October a year ago.

But they have still not been able to form a government and face growing legal pressures.