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Fugitive ex-Catalan leader held by police in Germany

A Spanish Supreme Court judge reactivated an international arrest warrant for Mr Puigdemont when was visiting Finland.

German police say they have detained fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on a European arrest warrant.

Police in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein said highway police arrested Mr Puigdemont on Sunday morning near the A7 main road that leads from Denmark into Germany.

They said “Mr Puigdemont is currently in police custody” and refused to give further details.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge charged 13 Catalan separatist politicians with rebellion on Friday for their attempts to make the region independent of Spain, dealing a heavy blow to the secessionist movement.

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A protest in support of Catalonian politicians who have been jailed on charges of sedition, in Barcelona (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The judge ordered international arrest warrants for the six Catalan officials who are fugitives, including Mr Puigdemont.

The German news agency dpa reported that deputy state prosecutor Ralph Doepper, who is based in the northern town of Schleswig, said a German court would likely decide by Monday whether Mr Puigdemont would remain in custody pending the outcome of his extradition case.

Spain said its intelligence services and police worked with German police to orchestrate the arrest.

Mr Puigdemont was arrested while travelling from Finland back to Belgium, where he has been living since fleeing Spain in October following an illegal declaration of independence by Catalonia’s parliament.

Elsa Artadi, a member of the Catalan parliament considered to be in Mr Puigdemont’s inner circle, wrote on Twitter: “Spain does not guarantee a fair trial, only revenge and repression.”

Thousands of Catalans gathered in central Barcelona to protest against the arrest.

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A pro-independence demonstrator holds a poster with a photo of deposed leader of Carles Puigdemont during a protest in Barcelona (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

They joined a rally in front of the office of the European Commission in Barcelona and organisers planned to march to the German Consulate.

There was a similar protest in the northern city of Girona, where Mr Puigdemont was mayor before he became regional president in 2016.

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