On Thursday, Catalan Prime Minister Quim Torra condemned the violence in the ongoing protests in the northern Spanish province. It has been noisy in Catalonia since Monday, after nine Catalan politicians were sentenced to prison terms of up to thirteen for their role in the unlawfully labeled independence referendum in 2017.
Torra says to reject the ongoing violence and believes that such incidents should not happen in the country. "This should stop now," he said in a press conference. Previously, he called the imprisonment imposed "Unacceptable" and defended the protests.
"We have entered a new phase in which we will take the initiative and focus on implementing the right to self-determination."
Following the announcement of the imprisonment, the Spanish Supreme Court also issued an international arrest warrant for the fled Catalan ex-Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont, currently living in exile in Brussels.
Immediately after the court's ruling, thousands of Catalans took to the streets and occupied important streets in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. They also blocked access roads to the airport of the city and tried to penetrate the airport.
Since then, various violent clashes have taken place between protesters and the police. The demonstrations intensified on Wednesday and regional police said they were pelted with gas bombs.
90Police intervene hard in new Catalan protest in Barcelona
Politicians prosecuted for sedition, rebellion and misuse of government money
The nine politicians were convicted of incitement around the illegal referendum in 2017. The Spanish Constitutional Court did not approve the vote because separation attempts are legally prohibited in the country.
More than 2.3 million Catalans came to the polls, which is 42 percent of those entitled to vote. More than 90 percent voted in favor of an independent Catalonia.
Eventually the Spanish government temporarily took over the administration in Catalonia. The then Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont fled the country and is currently in Brussels. He calls Monday's convictions a "horror".
The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez asks the Catalans to "respect the verdict" and believes that a "new era" can begin, in which ties can be restored.
111Why does Catalonia want an independent state?
- Want to know what you missed at night? And an update on the most important news around lunch? Subscribe now to our daily newsletter!