Spanish court withdraws arrest warrant for former Catalan President Puigdemont

07 December, 2017, 16:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Pro-independence Catalan supporters gather for a demonstration near the EU quarter in Brussels

A sea of almost 50,000 pro-Catalonia protesters demonstrated in Brussels on Thursday to show support for the region's deposed president Carles Puigdemont, who addressed the crowd, and to urge the European Union to support its drive for independence from Spain.

Gloria Cot, a clerk from Barcelona who had just arrived in by coach, said: "Brussels is a kind of a loudspeaker for us".

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Wednesday said he and four of his ex-cabinet members plan to remain in Belgium "for the moment" after Spain dropped an global warrant for his arrest on Tuesday.

"It is a loudspeaker so that people can know that we really don't have a 100 percent democracy in Spain and that Catalonia has always been subjected to problems with Spain". Puigdemont said that the decision taken by the Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to withdraw the European arrest warrants against him and four of his former advisers (regional ministers), settled in Belgium since November 30th, was due to his fear of making a fool of himself.

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It had been expected that all 10 Catalan separatists could be allowed to leave prison after accepting the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which temporarily suspends Catalan autonomy until the new regional elections scheduled for December 21.

Many Catalans are pro-European, yet feel let down by the bloc's failure to mediate their conflict with Madrid.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels on Thursday to show their support for Catalan independence, weeks ahead of a regional election that would see it regaining autonomy from the Spanish government.

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