The Latest: Spanish prosecutor seeking sedition charges

AP News
Posted: Sep 22, 2017 12:26 PM
The Latest: Spanish prosecutor seeking sedition charges

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on independence efforts in Spain's Catalonia region (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

A chief prosecutor has asked Spain's National Court to consider investigating for sedition demonstrators who led thousands earlier this week to protest a police crackdown on preparations for an independence referendum.

The complaint was not directed at any one person or group but names the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural civic groups as organizers of the demonstration that authorities say hindered the police operation Wednesday.

During the demonstration, there were pockets of disturbances and two Civil Guard vehicles were thrashed.

The two groups have been the driving forces behind the call for independence in Catalonia in recent years.

All those arrested during the operation have been released although six of them remain under investigation..


4:55 p.m.

A demonstration in Barcelona against police raids and arrests of officials as part of a crackdown on a planned Catalan independence referendum has ended after those arrested were released.

Jordi Sanchez, leader of the Catalan National Assembly, told reporters that the protest had ended and that a celebratory rally will be held shortly.

The demonstration began Thursday morning outside the headquarters of Catalonia's judiciary body in Barcelona. It attracted several thousand people and some 100 camped overnight.

Sanchez's assembly is the chief civic force behind the referendum called for the Oct. 1 and the push for independence from Spain.

Some 2,000 students are staging a separate pro-referendum demonstration at one of Barcelona's main universities.


3:10 p.m.

A Catalan regional judge has ordered the release with restrictions of six people arrested as part of a crackdown by Spanish authorities on preparations for an Oct. 1 independence referendum for Catalonia, which Spain says is illegal.

A Catalan regional judiciary body statement said the six declined to testify Friday when brought before the judge. Several others were also arrested Wednesday but were later released.

A demonstration in Barcelona has been held for the past 24 hours to protest the arrests but it may now be suspended.

The statement said the six remain under investigation for disobedience, abuse of power and embezzlement and must appear before court each week. They include Josep Maria Jove, the secretary general of economic affairs for the region and No. 2 to the region's vice president, Oriol Junqueras.

The Catalan regional government Friday removed Jove from his post to try to avoid him having to pay a hefty Constitutional Court fine daily for his actions.


2:25 p.m.

Around two thousand students have gathered around and inside one of Barcelona's main universities calling for an end to the crackdown of a referendum over Catalonia's secession Spain.

The students are carrying pro-independence flags and banners supporting the Oct. 1 vote. They are also shouting slogans in support of a dozen officials that are under investigation in relation to the referendum.

Hundreds of students have entered the main building of Barcelona University and have occupied a central cloister near the offices of the dean and other university managers.

Student union representatives are calling for protesters to remain over the weekend to show support for the vote.

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the vote while judges assess its legality.


11:25 a.m.

Spain's Interior Ministry says it's deploying police reinforcements to its northeastern region of Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain should take place.

A ministry statement says the agents will provide backing for the Catalan regional police who are also under orders to prevent the Oct. 1 referendum from taking place.

The ministry said the Catalan Interior Ministry had been informed. It didn't say how many extra police would be sent. Three ferries docked at Barcelona's port will provide accommodation for the extra officers.

The deployment comes amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned referendum. Officers arrested a dozen regional government officials and seized around 10 million ballot papers this week.


11 a.m.

Hundreds of pro-independence supporters in Catalonia are protesting outside a courthouse to demand the release of regional government officials arrested in a crackdown by Spanish authorities over a planned secession referendum.

The protest Friday in the northeastern Catalan town of Hospitalet de Llobregat is an extension of another started Thursday outside the Catalan judiciary headquarters in nearby Barcelona that attracted thousands. A pro-independence group says that about 2,500 supporters were attending the protest in Hospitalet.

Many of the demonstrators in Barcelona had slept overnight near the judiciary building in tents or hammocks strung up between lampposts.

The Catalan National Assembly civic group has called for the protests to continue until the near dozen officials detained Wednesday are released.

Spain's central government says the planned Oct. 1 referendum is illegal.