Catalonia's ousted leader pleads for peace but vows to carry on struggle

Catalonia's ousted leader pleads for peace but vows to carry on struggle

Puigdemont's press conference came as Spain's constitutional court suspended Friday's declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, and the supreme court said it had begun proceedings against Catalonian parliamentary officials over their role in the independence referendum.

Carles Puigdemont arrived in Brussels on Monday, the same day that Spanish prosecutors announced they were seeking rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges against him and other Catalan officials.

The move enabled Prime Minister Rajoy to dissolve the Spanish government and call for new regional elections in December.

The Times reported that Puigdemont hired lawyer Paul Bekaert, who described himself as having "experience in extradition and political asylum" and said that Puigdemont may seek asylum in Belgium.

Catalonia, a prosperous region with its own language and culture, triggered Spain's biggest crisis for decades by holding an independence referendum on October 1, which Spanish courts called illegal. "I find it hard to believe that the majority want independence and I prefer that Barcelona play in our league".

The analyst also commented on four key questions that could help us figure out how things might develop in the future.

Prince died of an accidental overdose of painkillers in April 2016, leaving no will. A judge has declared Prince's six surviving siblings his heirs, but they've split into two camps.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said that the central government in Madrid would be surprised if Puigdemont sought asylum in Belgium and were granted protection there.

Belgium's immigration minister Theo Francken, a leading member of the Flemish separatist N-VA party, appeared to throw down the welcome mat when he told local media at the weekend: "If the Catalans demand asylum, Belgian law permits it".

What's next for Catalan autonomy?

Mr Puigdemont has urged "democratic opposition" to direct rule from Madrid. The Spanish government immediately sacked him and his Cabinet, dissolved the regional parliament and called a new Catalan election for Dec. 21.

Catalans had a range of powers in many policy areas from culture and environment to communications, transportation, commerce and public safety.

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