Catalonia's former regional president Carles Puigdemont, fourth right, hold a banner with others during a protest in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019. New disruptions to Catalonia's transportation network on Tuesday followed a night of clashes between activists and police over the conviction of separatist leaders, as Spanish authorities announced an investigation into the group organizing the protests. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The Latest: Catalan ex-leader protests outside EU building

October 15, 2019 - 6:46 am

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

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 cooperate 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.