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Spanish police arrest 7 in connection with Catalan secession

April 10, 2018

Demonstrators shouts slogans against the monarchy and the judicial system as the King of Spain Felipe VI takes part in a swearing-in ceremony for new judges at the L'Auditori in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, April 9, 2018. Fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Saturday made a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open negotiations over Catalonia's secession claim, a day after he was released from a German prison. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities on Tuesday detained seven people in Catalonia as part of a crackdown on disturbances associated with the region’s attempts to secede from Spain, saying one of those arrested is suspected of terrorism.

The Guardia Civil said it arrested a woman believed to be a leader of Catalonia’s so-called Committees for the Defense of the Republic — a grassroots group that organizes protests. Those groups have been behind the blocking of road and train lines in Catalonia to press their demand for independence.

The Guardia Civil statement didn’t explain the legal grounds for the terrorism charge for the woman, but some Spanish officials have described the group’s actions as sabotage.

Also Tuesday, the Catalan police force Mossos d’Esquadra detained six men on suspicion of public disorder offenses during tense protests outside the region’s parliament in January.

A large crowd gathered outside when lawmakers attempted to elect Carles Puigdemont, a pro-independence leader who is now a fugitive, as Catalan president.

The three pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament said the arrests amounted to “judicial persecution” of the separatists by Spain’s central authorities.

Secessionist groups planned street protests in Catalonia in the wake of the arrests.

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