At least three demonstrators were arrested and 52 injured as thousands fill Catalan streets to protest the arrest of Carles Puigdemont this morning in Germany.
The streets of Barcelona and smaller cities throughout the Catalan region were filled with demonstrators waving Catalan flags and carrying pictures of their former president, Carles Puigdemont in protest of his arrest just hours after he entered Germany from Finland.
Puigemont, who was re-elected president by the pro-independent Catalan parliamentary in January, has remained the past five months in self-exile in Belgium because his return to Spain meant imminent arrest on charges of rebellion and sedition stemming from his part in the Oct. 1 Catalan independence referendum.
Spanish authorities put out an immediate international arrest warrant for Puigdemont in late October just as he fled to Belgium.
Were the Catalan leader to be extradited from Germany he could be tried and sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.
Current Catalan parliament president Roger Torrent says political parties, labor unions, and civil society groups should join the “front” for “freedom."
Catalonia needs a "wide social and democratic front to defend the rights and freedoms," said the parliamentary leader who assumed office Jan. 17 following the region’s Dec. 21 snap elections.
Torrent added that the Spanish government "is attacking the heart of democracy, making a general cause against its political adversaries."
The parliamentary president, who represents the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party and the broader pro-separatist assembly coalition said this is Spain’s “darkest” moment since the country resumed democracy four decades ago.
The Associated Press reports that protesters have blocked major highways and arteries throughout northeastern Spain to demonstrate against Puigemont's arrest. Spanish police in riot gear are using batons against protesters who are trying rush the office of the Spanish government's in Catalonia.
Puigemont is set to appear in a German court on Monday "to confirm the identity of the detained." His case will then be forwarded to a higher regional court to determine "whether Mr. Puigdemont has to be taken into extradition custody,” said German officials.