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.

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Brus­sels

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

Pic­ture: 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.

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