Calgary Herald - - NP -

BARCELONA Cata­lan leader Car­les Puigde­mont has fled to Brus­sels as Span­ish au­thor­i­ties charged him and at least 20 sep­a­ratist lead­ers with re­bel­lion and sedi­tion on Mon­day, mark­ing a ma­jor es­ca­la­tion in the con­fronta­tion with the in­de­pen­dence­seek­ing re­gion.

Puigde­mont, pic­tured, is in Bel­gium with key mem­bers of his for­mer gov­ern­ment where they are ex­pected to seek asy­lum, ac­cord­ing to a party of­fi­cial, who was present at a meet­ing of se­nior party of­fi­cials.

The ousted leader and his for­mer of­fi­cials could form a gov­ern­ment in ex­ile — a strat­egy that could help keep the hopes of grass­roots in­de­pen­dence sup­port­ers alive, ac­cord­ing to the per­son. At the same time, other mem­bers will fight the elec­tion called by Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy for Dec. 21.

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