He was arrested while driving back to Belgium from a conference he had been attending in Finland. Puigdemont’s attorney announced the arrest on Twitter and said his client had been taken to a police station. Puigdemont would appear in court Monday for a procedural hearing and that a higher regional court would decide later. The Catalan leader has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium. Now he is expected to return in Spain by extradition to stand trial on charges of rebellion against the state for his push to see Catalonia secede. Five other pro-independence leaders who remained in Spain were sent to jail on Friday on rebellion charges.
Clashes in Barcelona
In Barcelona, tens of thousands of pro-independence Catalans gathered to protest the arrest, leading to clashes with riot police.“You will have occasional bouts of noise coming from Catalonia, but I doubt you will see another big push for independence” during the next several years, said Antonio Barroso, a political analyst at consulting firm Teneo Intelligence in London. Many separatists still consider Mr. Puigdemont the legitimate head of Catalonia’s regional government. Separatist parties won majority in December but they have not a new leader. The issue of independence is likely to remain at the forefront of Catalan politics in the future.