The Latest: Catalan separatists protest for second day

MADRID — The Latest on Catalan protests and politics (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Thousands of Catalan separatists are protesting for a second straight day over the Spanish court ruling that imprisoned nine independence leaders and the conviction of three others.

Protesters held vigils at the gates of the Spanish government’s delegations in all of Catalonia’s four provincial capitals.

Riot police charged at some of the protesters after some of them hurled objects at the officers and kicked the temporary fences put in place to protect the building.

The protesters sang the Catalan anthem and shouted, “The streets will always be ours,” ”Independence,” as well as slogans calling Spanish police “occupying forces” and urging them to leave Catalonia.

Vigils were also being held in Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, as well as smaller towns across Catalonia.

They had been called by ANC and Omnium, two grassroots pro-secession groups whose leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart were sentenced on Monday to nine years in prison for sedition.

The “Jordis,” as they are known popularly, spent nearly two years in pre-trial detention, a cause of anger for many in Catalonia.


3:45 p.m.

Fugitive ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has joined dozens of pro-Catalonia independence supporters in a protest outside the European Commission a day after the conviction of 12 colleagues in Spain for their role in a secession push led by him in 2017.

Puigdemont said “we need the whole support of European democrats. Because that crisis concerns European democracy and the quality of European democracy. It is not a Catalan, a regional or a Spanish issue.”

A Spanish judge has issued a new international arrest order for Puigdemont. His colleagues say he is willing to co-operate with Belgian police and authorities.

Puigdemont and other Catalan representatives fleeing justice in Spain demand international institutions end their silence and help create a dialogue between the Spanish government and Catalan pro-independence authorities.


3:05 p.m.

Convicted Catalan activist Jordi Cuixart says the politicians and activists sentenced for their roles in a 2017 push for Catalan independence will take their case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that the court conviction is a European affair.

Cuixart told The Associated Press by email via his lawyer Tuesday that “we have the moral obligation to denounce this (Spain’s) authoritarian drift and appeal to European citizens to defend human rights.”

Cuixart, who heads Omnium Cultural, one of two activist groups that has spearheaded the Catalan independence movement, said the 12 convicted Monday must first appeal to Spain’s constitutional Court before approaching Europe.

Cuixart was sentenced to nine years. He said they would also seek an amnesty “as a resolution to this political conflict.”


11:15 a.m.

Authorities in Catalonia say three people were arrested and more than 170 injured, including about 40 police officers, during clashes between protesters and baton-wielding anti-riot police at Barcelona’s international airport and elsewhere across the northeastern Spanish region.

The clashes that started late Monday stemmed from an online call by Tsunami Democratic, a loose grassroots group, following the conviction of a dozen separatist leaders at the forefront of Catalonia’s secession bid two years ago.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said authorities are investigating the group.

Spain’s airport operator, AENA, said more than 1,000 flights were scheduled to operate normally in Barcelona Tuesday, after at least 110 were cancelled the day before.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport, with many forced to walk with their luggage on highways and across fields.

The Associated Press