Catalan leaders face 'rebellion' charge

Spain rejects plan to install nationalist Catalan leader

At least 20 people were injured as police used riot batons to keep protesters away.

Former Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell, left, separatist politician Dolors Bassa, center and former Cabinet member Raul Romeva arrive at the Supreme Court in Madrid.

A total of 25 leaders are now set to be tried for rebellion, misuse of public funds and disobeying the state after last year's independence referendum and declaration.

Judge Pablo Llarena's decision to bring formal charges means the secessionist leaders face potential jail terms of 25-30 years.

Rovira, who did not specify where she was headed, is the seventh separatist to flee overseas to escape charges.Separatist parties won regional elections in December called by Madrid after they attempted to secede, retaining their absolute majority in parliament.

Carles Puigdemont, the former regional president who is in exile in Belgium, was among the 13 indicted yesterday by a supreme court judge.

Llarena said the five detainees posed a serious flight risk and could seek to push ahead with their plans for unilateral independence if allowed to remain at liberty.

All five left Spain following a proclamation of independence for Catalonia in October.

The five join four other Catalan leaders already in prison.

Spain rejects plan to install nationalist Catalan leader

Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent said on Friday he would continue with the session and read a statement in support of pro-independence leaders, despite opposition from the government and unionist parties in Catalonia.

This would entail fewer calls for engagement with Madrid and the heightening tensions between the regional and federal governments.

"Exile will be a hard road, but it is the only way I have to recover my political voice", Ms Rovira said in a letter.

Catalan television aired footage of more crowds in towns in the region, including Vic and Tarragona.

Wild protests have erupted in the Basque region of Barcelona after a Spanish High Court detained five Catalan politicians for their role in the region's secessionist bid staged in October a year ago.

Mr. Turull was the third candidate proposed by the main separatist parties since December, when they narrowly retained their parliamentary majority in a snap election called by Mr. Rajoy.

Parliament rules say he could have a second chance to be elected on Saturday, when only a simple majority of more "Yes" than "No" votes would be required to make him Catalonia's next president.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelonia, Vic and Tarragona on Friday evening to protest against the court decision.

They include Jordi Turull, a former minister of the ousted regional Cabinet, who on Thursday failed in his bid to be elected as the region's new president.


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