Catalan parliament speaker in court over independence bid

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/11/9 23:33:40

The speaker of Catalonia's sacked parliament appeared before Spain's Supreme Court on Thursday in the latest legal case brought against separatist leaders for their role in the region's divisive independence bid.

A judge may decide to detain Carme Forcadell and five former lawmakers on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds after Catalan lawmakers voted last month to split from Spain.

They are suspected of having followed a "concerted strategy to declare independence," before the official declaration of the Catalan parliament on October 27, deepening Spain's most serious political crisis in decades.

That declaration was annulled Wednesday by Spain's Constitutional Court.

On Wednesday, a general strike called in Catalonia by a pro-independence union caused widespread travel chaos, cutting Spain's main highway link to France and the rest of Europe and disrupting trains from Barcelona to Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

Authorities said around 150,000 people were affected.

Despite the blockages, the walkout was however on a far smaller scale than previous strikes in the region, and Spain's interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido labelled it a "total fiasco."

Catalan leaders voted to declare unilateral independence from Spain after going ahead with a referendum on October 1.

In response, the Spanish government  suspended Catalan autonomy, dismissed its parliament and government, and organized new regional elections for December 21.

The Supreme Court could also decide to place Forcadell and the former MPs in pre-trial detention.

Posted in: EUROPE

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