Former Catalan leader Puidgemont held by German police

Former Catalan Leader Puigdemont Is Detained by German Police

Catalonia has been under direct rule from Madrid since the end of October.

Catalan police have blocked the street and issued a call for people not to gather.

"This Europe is shameful!", they chanted as they marched by the office of the European Commission in the Catalan capital.

There was a similar protest in the northern city of Girona, where Mr Puigdemont was mayor before he became regional president in 2016.

Mr Puigdemont has been on a trip to Finland.

His detention threatens to worsen the Catalan crisis which flared previous year when the region made a symbolic declaration of independence, prompting Madrid to dissolve the Catalan government and take direct rule. Ms Ponsati has since moved to Scotland, whose government have spoken out to support the Catalonian independence movement.

Former regional leader faces up to 25 years on sedition charges in Spain.

She is said to be preparing to hand herself into police.

Aside from the scenes in Barcelona, the arrest of the fugitive ex-leader of secession-minded Catalonia has sparked mixed reactions in Spain.

Carles Puigdemont, 55, is a former journalist who worked for pro-independence media in Catalonia and headed the Catalan News Agency.

Spain was plunged into its worst political crisis in three decades when Puigdemont's government flouted a court ban and held an ad-hoc referendum on independence for the northeastern region in October. Later, the suspended leader of Catalonia said that he would be in Belgium until the early elections to the Catalan parliament.

A Spanish police official told The Associated Press on customary condition of anonymity that Spain's National Center for Intelligence and police agents from its worldwide cooperation division helped German police in the capture of Carles Puigdemont. Puigdemont will appear before a German judge on Monday.

Puigdemont has been living in exile in Belgium since, and there is an active European Arrest Warrant open on him.

He and 12 other separatist leaders were officially charged with rebellion on Friday.

-By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona. Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believed to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison.

Police in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein say that highway police arrested Puigdemont at 11:19 a.m. (09:19 GMT; 04:19 EDT) near the A7 highway which leads from Denmark into Germany.

Puigdemont was in Finland to talk with lawmakers, but his lawyer tweeted that he had made it out of the country and into Belgium.

Riot police clashed with protesters on Sunday evening in Barcelona, hours after ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was detained near the German-Danish border. The judiciary in Schleswig-Holstein is now examining whether Puigdemont will be placed in extradition.

"We are going to continue to resist and fight to be free", said Julio Vallmitjana, a bearded 64-year-old pensioner who wore his white hair in a pony tail and stood a bit apart from the crowd.

"We simply had the information that he was supposed to be in Germany or had entered the country", he said.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Germany by police acting on an worldwide arrest warrant issued by Spain, according to his lawyer.

On Friday, a Spanish supreme court judge issued global arrest warrants for seven fugitive Catalan leaders who have been charged with rebellion, which could lead to prison terms of up to 30 years. On Friday, Spain issued multiple global arrest warrants for five other separatists, including four former ministers who are in Belgium.

His lawyer, James Alonso-Cuevillas, confirmed the arrest on Twitter. He says Puigdemont is at a police station.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge reactivated an global warrant for Puigdemont on Friday when he was visiting Finland.

Worldwide arrest warrants have also been issued for five others involved in the referendum, including Clara Ponsati.

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