Spain Charges Catalan Separatists Suspected of Planning Violent Attacks

Seven Catalan separatists arrested on suspicion of planning violent attacks have been charged with belonging to a “terrorist organisation” and remanded in custody, Spanish judicial authorities said on Thursday.The seven were among nine people detained on Monday on accusations they were planning attacks with possible explosives. The other two were released.A judge in Madrid ruled that there was evidence suggesting the seven were members of an organization intending to achieve Catalan independence “by any means including violence,” a court statement said.No details of the accused were given.The seven suspects have also been charged with making and possessing explosives.The arrests come just weeks before the second anniversary of the banned Catalan independence referendum which triggered one of Spain’s biggest political crises.Several hundred people demonstrated outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona and then the city’s police headquarters shouting “freedom for political prisoners.”The parliament earlier Thursday approved a resolution calling for the “withdrawal from Catalan territory of the civil guard police,” described as a “type of political police.”A verdict is due next month in the trial of 12 separatist leaders for their roles in the attempted secession in 2017.Sentencing the separatist leaders could provoke strong protests in Spain’s northeastern region.Alleged violence in 2017 was a key focus of the trial, in which the separatist leaders defended the peaceful nature of their movement.  

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