Rabat - Spain took into custody on Monday two leaders of the Catalan independence movement, which has faced a crackdown from Madrid since earlier this month.
Rabat – Spain took into custody on Monday two leaders of the Catalan independence movement, which has faced a crackdown from Madrid since earlier this month.
A Spanish judge tried Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, two prominent members of the separatist movement, for alleged crimes of sedition, according to international media. The men have been detained without bail while an investigation is carried out.
Sanchez and Cuixart were reportedly been leading voters during Catalonia’s independence referendum on October 1, which was seen as illegal by the Spanish government.
Sanchez is the head of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a pro-independence organization, while Cuixart is the leader of Omnium Cultural.
After their detention was announced, the independence supporters took to the streets across Catalonia on Monday night, with more protests expected on Tuesday.
The Catalan independence leaders are being investigated over a protest which took place on September 20 in which Catalans blocked Civil Guard officers inside a building in Barcelona, reported British news outlet BBC.
Carles Puigdemont, the region’s prime minister, condemned the decision, saying on Twitter that “Spain jails Catalonia’s Civil society leaders for organizing peaceful demonstration. Sadly, we have political prisoners again.”
Spain jails Catalonia’s civil society leaders for organising peaceful demonstrations. Sadly, we have political prisoners again
— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) October 16, 2017
On October 1, tension mounted in the northern Spanish region of Catalonia as police intervened to stop independence vote, which attracted thousands of local residents to cast their vote. The referendum, however, renewed tension between Madrid and the local government.
The police intervention left several people injured. Several voters were pictured with blooded faces and torn-off clothes, but the referendum still occurred despite Madrid’s crackdown.
While 90 percent of voters expressed support for independence in the referendum, the process Catalan independence has since been put on hold to allow of negotiations.