Декабря 13, 2017


Puigdemont to stay in Belgium for time being

07 Декабря 2017, 08:05 | Glen Norman

People wave Catalan"Estelada flags during a pro-independence demonstration

People wave Catalan

The demonstration took place while former leader of the Catalan parliament Carles Puigdemont remains in Brussels, despite a European warrant being lifted for his arrest earlier this week. Puigdemont asked the crowd. However, support came from all over Europe as protesters arrived after 12-hour treks across France and Spain.

"We can not abandon our president, who is in exile here", Antoni Llenas, 59, a protester wearing a flag over his shoulders, told AFP.

Although there have been small pockets of protests by pro-Madrid demonstrators, this marked the first, and by far the largest, demonstration in Brussels for Catalan independence.

Puigdemont and four former ministers fled to Brussels in Nov, saying they wanted to take their cause to a European level after Spain charged them with sedition and rebellion over Catalonia's independence referendum in October.

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On Monday, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena upheld the jailing of former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras and former Regional Interior Minister Joaqium Forn, as well as the leaders of two Catalan grassroots separatist groups, who had been sent to prison pending an investigation into the independence campaign.

"Brussels is a kind of a loudspeaker for us", said Gloria Cot, a protester from Barcelona. "We have to know the answer before going home".

The exiled former president of Catalonia today refused to return to Spain to face criminal charges unless he received government guarantees that the results of elections called by Madrid to wrest back control of the region would be respected.

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