Catalan police step in to shield Spain officers
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):
A crowd shouting slogans against the Spanish police has gathered outside a court building in Barcelona that was being guarded by officers from the national force.
The crowd shouted "Out with the Spanish police" and "Out with the occupation forces" while members of the regional Catalan police force, the Mossos, stationed themselves between the protesters and the national officers.
The demonstrators outside the court were among the thousands who gathered outside the nearby regional parliament building on Thursday.
The outcry followed a Spanish judge's decision to send nine members of the ousted regional government to jail while they are investigated for promoting Catalonia's declaration of independence. The probe could lead to charges of rebellion and sedition.
The ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has described the jailings of several of his former Cabinet members as "a serious mistake."
In a speech broadcast late on Thursday by Catalan public TV3, Puigdemont called on Catalans to protest against the Spanish authorities "without violence, peacefully and with respect for everybody's opinions."
Puigdemont and several ousted Cabinet members remain in Brussels, where he says they are seeking "safety and freedom" while judges back in Spain investigate them for pushing Catalan secession.
The prosecutor has asked the National Court judge to issue an international arrest warrant against them.
"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a beautiful European nation is outrageous and is threatening us all," Puigdemont said, adding that Catalonia's independence is "no longer an internal affair" of Spain.
The spokeswoman for the Catalan republican left party ERC has reacted to a judge's decision to jail politicians, including ERC militant and ousted Vice President Oriol Junqueras, by calling on "democrats" to "come out and prevent this from happening in the midst of the 21st century."
"We won't give up, we won't fail, we will fight till the end, till the end," Marta Rovira said in emotional remarks that brought tears to her eyes while speaking to reporters. "Because we have all the right in the world to live in a country with more justice, dignity and freedom."
Marta Pascal, secretary general of ousted president Carles Puigdemont's PDeCAT party, criticized the judge's decision to jail a democratically chosen government "just because they wanted to offer a different future to their citizens."
She appealed for Catalans to respond in a "serene, tranquil, peaceful but forthright way, to tell the Spanish government that it's shameful to intervene in our institutions and our government."
The ousted president of Catalonia has reacted to the jailing of nine members of his former Cabinet, posting on Twitter that "the legitimate government of Catalonia has been jailed for its ideas."
Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the separatist government that Spanish authorities removed from office last week, was in Belgium on Thursday when a judge in Madrid jailed his colleagues.
He and four regional ministers ignored a summons to appear in court for questioning in a rebellion investigation stemming from Catalonia's declaration of independence. The nine officials who were jailed complied.
One of the nine has been granted bail, but the payment has not been posted.
Puigdemont tweeted the government's "furious clamor" had sent the officials to jail.
"The serene clamor of the Catalans is of freedom," he wrote, posting a photo of protesters in Barcelona.
Thousands of protesters are taking to the streets of Catalan towns to protest the jailing of nine former members of the regional government following an appearance at Spain's National Court for questioning in a probe over Catalonia's push for independence.
Eight of the nine were jailed without possibility of bail while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement following the regional parliament's declaration of secession from Spain last week. Bail of 50,000 euros was set for the ninth.
Protests were called for Thursday evening, and thousands were gathering in Catalan towns including Tarragona, Lleida, Girona and Barcelona, footage from local media showed.
The jailed politicians called through their lawyers and some through social media for all protests to be peaceful and for their supporters to avoid any show of violence. Mass protests in favor of independence in Catalonia have so far been peaceful.
Hours after a judge sent eight former Catalan Cabinet members to jail without bail and ordered another to be held pending a bail payment, the suspects have been taken from a Madrid court in police vans with sirens wailing.
The seven men and two women were reportedly being distributed among prisons in the Madrid area.
Investigative Magistrate Carmen Lamela's ruling Thursday granted the request of prosecutors after the nine were questioned at the National Court in Madrid. Under Spain's legal system, investigating judges can order the detention of suspects while a comprehensive probe, sometimes taking months, determines if charges should be brought.
The court's decision to jail most of the suspects, instead of allowing them bail, sparked outrage among Catalan independence supporters, who are planning street protests.
A lawyer for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says his client will not be seeking asylum in Belgium and intends to cooperate with Belgian police and judicial authorities, if necessary.
A Spanish prosecutor asked a judge in Madrid on Thursday to issue an international arrest warrant for Puigdemont, who flew to Brussels earlier this week after the Spanish government removed him and his 13-member Cabinet from office.
His Belgian lawyer, Paul Bekaert, told The Associated Press that the idea of asking for asylum in Belgium "is now off the table."
Bekaert said he was not aware of a European arrest warrant having been issued for his client, but said Puigdemont would turn himself in to Belgian authorities if one is.
He said: "We will put in place everything we can in order to collaborate with the Belgian police.
Puigdemont and four of his former ministers did not comply with a summons ordering them to appear in Spain's National Court on Thursday for questioning. They and nine other ex-members of the regional government are being investigated on potential charges of rebelling, sedition and embezzlement over efforts to break the region away from Spain.
Lawyers for nine former members of the Catalan regional government ordered jailed say the defendants are serene and want the people of Catalonia to stay calm.
Defense lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said the Spanish National Court judge's decision on Thursday "lacked justification" and was "disproportionate."
Alonso-Cuevillas is representing former regional Vice President Oriol Junqueras and four other ousted members of the Catalan Cabinet.
Van den Andreu, the lawyer defending other ex-members of the regional government, said whether his clients were jailed "was already predetermined" before they appeared in court for questioning.
Both lawyers said they would appeal the judge's order.
The nine are among 20 Catalan politicians who are being investigated by Spanish courts for possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement stemming from Catalonia's declaration of independence.
A Spanish judge has ordered nine ex-members of the government in Catalonia jailed while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement.
Investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela issued the ruling on Thursday at the request of prosecutors who are pursuing a criminal case stemming from the declaration of secession the Parliament of Catalonia made Friday.
The judge set bail for one of the nine former members of the Catalan Cabinet, saying he would be freed if he pays bail of 50,000 euros.
Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, and four other ex-Cabinet members are in Belgium and ignored court summonses to appear for questioning Thursday.
The Spanish government invoked constitutional authority last week to take over running Catalonia following the region's declaration of independence. Madrid dismissed the Catalan Cabinet, dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election for Dec. 21.
A Spanish prosecutor has asked a National Court judge to issue an international arrest warrant for Catalonia's ousted regional president and four of his ex-ministers.
The prosecutor made the petition to investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela on Thursday after ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont failed to appear in the Madrid court for questioning in a rebellion probe following the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence from Spain Oct. 27.
Puigdemont and several of his ministers went to Brussels after the secession declaration and said they wouldn't heed the summons.
Earlier, the judge questioned nine other Catalan ex-ministers and prosecutors asked for eight to be jailed unconditionally and one given the chance to pay bail.
Spain's central bank is warning of the economic costs of the Catalan political crisis, which it says could damage the country's growth.
The Bank of Spain assesses the consequences of two possible scenarios.
The first is a temporary period of uncertainty in the fourth quarter of 2017, which it predicts could shave 0.3 percentage points off forecast growth through the end of 2019.
The second scenario is a "severe and prolonged" crisis, which would bring an accumulated decrease of 2.5 percentage points in Spanish GDP between the end of 2017 and 2019. That, the bank says, could spell a recession for the Catalan economy.
The bank says in a technical report published Thursday that the forecasts are based on hypothetical simulations and should be treated with caution. Even so, it says the conclusions demonstrate the "significant risks and economic costs" resulting from Catalonia's independence bid.
The Spanish government last month maintained its forecast for growth in 2017 at 3.1 percent, but revised its estimate for 2018 from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent because of the crisis.
Thousands of people are rallying outside the Catalan presidential palace in Barcelona in a show of support for ousted Catalan officials appearing in court in Madrid.
The ex-officials are being questioned as part of an investigation into possible rebellion charges for having declared the region's independence from Spain.
The crowd in Barcelona clapped, chanted slogans in favor of independence, and carried Catalan flags.
Twenty regional politicians, including fired regional government president Carles Puigdemont, have been summoned to court after the chief prosecutor demanded they be charged with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement following the Catalan parliament's declaration of secession Oct. 27.
Puigdemont and four of his former ministers didn't appear, after arriving in Belgium earlier this week.
Spanish prosecutors have asked the National Court to jail nine ex-members of the sacked Catalan government but have requested the possibility of bail for one of them.
The prosecutor's request came after the nine ex-ministers were quizzed at the National Court on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.
The case stems from the Catalan parliament's declaration of the region's independence from Spain on Oct. 27.
The court said the prosecutor proposed eight should be jailed immediately and that a ninth be allowed stay free if he pays bail of 50,000 euros.
The eight include former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras.
The judge has yet to decide on the request.
Sacked Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-Cabinet members are in Belgium and ignored court summonses to appear Thursday.
--A previous version of this item has been corrected to show that prosecutors are asking for jail for all nine but bail possibility for one.
Spain's Supreme Court has suspended until next week the questioning of six Catalan lawmakers who are under investigation for rebellion following the region's declaration of independence.
The six, including regional parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell, and 14 ousted Catalan government ministers, including fired Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, had been summoned by two Madrid courts Thursday and face possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.
The Supreme Court said the hearing of the six regional parliament board members was postponed until Nov. 9 following a request by their lawyers.
The hearing of nine of Puigdemont's ousted Cabinet members continued at the nearby National Court.
Puigdemont and four ex-ministers are in Brussels and have ignored the summonses.
Ousted Catalan parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell has arrived at Spain's Supreme Court for questioning in a rebellion investigation.
Forcadell is one of 20 former Catalan lawmakers that have been summoned by two courts following the regional parliament's declaration of independence Oct. 27.
Forcadell is a former leader of the National Catalan Assembly, which has long been the driving civic group force behind the region's independence drive.
Five of the 20, including sacked regional President Carles Puigdemont, traveled to Brussels following the declaration and are refusing to appear. This will likely trigger warrants for their arrest and petitions for their extradition.
Ousted Catalan government members and lawmakers are beginning to appear before Spanish courts in Madrid to face possible charges of rebellion for having declared the region's independence.
Twenty regional politicians, including sacked regional government president Carles Puigdemont, were called to appear Thursday after the chief prosecutor demanded charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement be pressed.
Puigdemont, who is in Belgium with four of his ex-Cabinet members, said he will ignore the summons, which could trigger a warrant for his arrest and an extradition petition.
The group summoned includes his 13-member former Cabinet and six parliamentary board members.
Puigdemont's No. 2, Oriol Junqueras, was the first to arrive at the National Court.
The crimes being probed are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish law.