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Madrid ready to arrest Catalan president for independence declaration

Spanish police are ready to arrest Catalan President Carles Puigdemont immediately if he declares independence in the regional parliament, according to two people familiar with the government’s plans.

While a final decision on whether to act has not yet been taken, Spain’s National Police force has elite officers deployed in Catalonia who are prepared to join a raid if Catalan police try to shield Puigdemont, said one of the people. If Puigdemont makes a statement that falls short of immediate independence, the government in Madrid may stay its hand.

The president is likely to use the words “declaration of independence,” but they will probably be qualified or hedged in some way, according to another person familiar with his plans. The Catalan government spokesman declined to comment on Puigdemont’s speech at a press briefing in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Puigdemont is due to address the regional legislature at 6 p.m with many of his supporters looking for him to announce a new republic to follow through on the makeshift referendum held on Oct. 1. The address was postponed for one hour to 7 p.m. reportedly to continue the discussions with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who tries to convince Catalans to renounce independence declaration. Previously Juncker stated that Catalan issue is an interior problem of Spain, he did not condemn police violence, and did not stand for human rights of Catalans.

About Europe correspondent (522 Articles)
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