The Catalan National Assembly, Òmnium Cultural, the pro-independence parties and several other organizations and entities have convened to protest against the detention of exiled president Carles Puigdemont on Friday at the Alghero airport in Sardinia. Hundreds of people gathered in the early hours of Saturday in front of the Italian consulate in Barcelona.

There will be protests in other European cities as well.

You can follow the protests live here (in Catalan).

Catalan government

The Catalan government flatly rejected the detention of former president Puigdemont in the Italian island of Sardinia on Friday. In a tweet at 11.30 pm, President Pere Aragonès said: “Facing judicial persecution and repression, we express the most energical condemnation. It must stop. Amnesty is the only way out. Self-determination, the only solution.”

The Catalan foreign minister, Victòria Alsina, said in an interview with TV3 public broadcaster that the cabinet believes the politician’s arrest is “irregular” because his EU arrest warrant is now suspended. She also said they have got in touch with “the top European, Italian and Sardinian authorities” on the issue. Alsina reminded that last month, Puigdemont was able to travel to Northern Catalonia, a Catalan-speaking territory now in France, and was not arrested.

The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Laura Borràs, who is also a member of Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party, accused Spain of being “obsessed” with the former president because he “reveals its democratic shames.” In an interview with Catalonia’s TV3, Borràs explained that “it’s obvious that Puigdemont is Spain’s main public enemy” and that the state will do “everything in its hands” to get him extradited.

The far-left CUP party, the main political allies of the pro-independence government formed by JxCat and Aragonès’ Esquerra party, reacted to Puigdemont’s detention by demanding an end to “repression”, an amnesty, and self-determination.

Spain: ‘Puigdemont must face justice just like any other citizen’

In a press release by Spain’s secretary of communication, the government of president Pedro Sánchez explained that Puigdemont’s detention is “part of an ongoing judicial proceeding”. The former Catalan president, they said, will be “held responsible for his deeds at court,” and insisted that he must face “justice just like any other citizen.”

The detention of Puigdemont could reignite tensions between Catalan and Spanish governments and thwart efforts to engage in dialogue over the independence conflict, which a breakthrough meeting being held on September 15.

Jaume Asens, a Spanish MP for Unidas Podemos, the junior partners in the left-wing coalition government led by the Socialists, called Puigdemont’s detention “illegal” and “incomprehensible.”

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