After the Spanish Supreme Court issued a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont last Friday, the popular Catalan leader was detained on Sunday in Germany after evading arrest in Finland. Puigdemont, facing up to 25 years in prison, is accused of rebellion and sedition, after leading what Madrid decried as an illegal pro-independence referendum in late 2017. Several colleagues have also been jailed and face trial.
Clashes with police in Barcelona and many other cities have seen some 79 injured as rioters threw rocks and pelted security forces with objects at hand.
Wielding batons, Spanish riot police engaged with angry crowds in attempts to prevent protesters from approaching offices housing representatives of the central Spanish government.
Els manifestants intenten barrar el pas a les furgonetes dels @mossos, que condueixen a tota velocitat per la cruïla de València amb Bruc https://t.co/CaDVUCfLJZ@btvnoticies pic.twitter.com/lUrrswfXqB— Sergi Unanue (@SergiUnanue) March 25, 2018
La policía carga en Barcelona. Los furgones arremeten contra los manifestantes con velocidad pic.twitter.com/YCBG2W6MKj— Enric Botella (@enricbotella) March 25, 2018
Catalan police, under direct Madrid's command now, charges against #Catalonia's republicans demonstrating at the Spanish Govt Delegation in #Barcelona #FreeCatalanPoliticalPrisoners 🎗🎗 #FreePuigdemontpic.twitter.com/j1HXWFLHpT— David d'Enterria *X (@denterd) March 25, 2018
There were reports of police beating marchers and firing weapons above the heads of the crowd as a means to disperse the mass while protesters threw eggs, cans and glass at the heavily-armed forces.
- Catalan police remove barricades placed by protestors during skirmishes after former regional president Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany, in Barcelona, Spain March 25, 2018.© REUTERS / Albert Gea
- A protestor throws a barrier at a Catalan police van during skirmishes after former regional president Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany, at a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain March 25, 2018.© REUTERS / Albert Gea
- Protestors erect barricades on a street during skirmishes with police after former regional president Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany, in Barcelona, Spain March 25, 2018.© REUTERS / Albert Gea
Some 79 people — including 13 riot police — have been injured, according to reports by the Catalan capital's emergency services.
The escalating violence saw Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent take to regional television to appeal for calm.