German police arrest ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont

The former Catalan regional president was at the time of his detention heading to Belgium, according to Puigdemont's spokesman Joan Maria Pique.

They said "Mr Puigdemont is now in police custody" and refused to give further details.

Puigdemont supported a referendum in October seeking the independence of Catalonia from Spain.

The crime of rebellion carries a maximum sentence of 30 years' imprisonment, while sedition carries a 15-year penalty.

Catalonian riot police members and protesters clash during a protest against the detention in Germany of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, at the Spanish Government Delegation in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on Sunday.

German police arrested Puigdemont earlier on Sunday as he crossed over by auto from Denmark, where had been visiting lawmakers.

German police stopped Puigdemont after he crossed the border by vehicle from Denmark on his way back to Belgium from Finland, his lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas tweeted.

Catalonia will remain under direct rule by Madrid as long as it fails to form a new government. Spain has also issued five warrants for other separatists who fled the country.

The court will then decide if Puigdemont will be formally taken into custody pending extradition proceedings, it added.

"If Germany collaborates with the Spanish authoritarian government", wrote one Twitter user, "Europe will be dead".

Puigdemont's lawyer confirmed his client was being "held" for checks but a German police spokesperson has said he has been arrested as part of the European Arrest Warrant issued from Spain on Friday.

The lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, did not say exactly where Puigdemont was in custody in Germany.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, centre, walks in the park with elected Catalan lawmakers of his Together for Catalonia party in Brussels on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. "I will not quit".

His court appearance on Monday will be a formality to confirm his identity.

"We are going to continue to resist and fight to be free", said Julio Vallmitjana, a bearded 64-year-old pensioner who wore his white hair in a pony tail and stood a bit apart from the crowd.

German news agency dpa said that Puigdemont was taken to a prison in the northern town of Neumuenster.

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