People back Puigdemont
CATALANS TAKE TO BELGIAN STREETS CALLING FOR INDEPENDENCE President and four of his ministers fled to Brussels as they faced arrest in Spain.
Hundreds of Catalan protesters began gathering in Brussels yesterday to show support for deposed president Carles Puigdemont and urge the EU to support their drive for independence from Spain.
Chanting “wake up Europe!” and waving Catalonia’s red, yellow and blue Estelada separatist flag, demonstraters gathered in a park near the headquarters of the European Union ahead of a march through the Belgian capital.
“We cannot abandon our president, who is in exile here,” Antoni Llenas, 59, a protester wearing a flag over his shoulders, said. “We are here to continue the struggle for our independence and to ask for the freedom of our political prisoners.”
Belgian police were on hand but the early stages of the protest were peaceful.
Puigdemont and four former ministers fled to Brussels in November, saying they wanted to take their cause to a European lev- el after Spain charged them with sedition and rebellion over Catalonia’s independence referendum in October.
Madrid dropped a European arrest warrant for the five on Monday but Puigdemont said he would stay put as they still faced arrest in Spain if they return for snap regional polls in Catalonia on December 21. – AFP
VOTE FOR FREEDOM. People unroll a giant Catalan flag during a pro-independence demonstration yesterday in Brussels. Protesters called for more democratic elections in Europe.