The Latest: Spain lowers growth forecast amid uncertainty
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):
The Spanish government is lowering the country’s economic growth forecast for 2018 from 2.6 to 2.3 percent, blaming the political uncertainty in Catalonia for the slowdown.
The more modest growth target appears in the budget plan that Spain’s conservative government has submitted to European authorities. It was shared with The Associated Press early Tuesday.
In the plan, Spanish authorities also forecast a public deficit level of 2.3 percent, 0.1 percent higher than earlier estimates.
Authorities blame the revisions both on a slower global economic cycle and less consumer spending domestically as a result of the political deadlock in Catalonia.
Economy Minister Luis de Guindos warned last week that the government was considering setting a lower growth target for next year if the conflict between Madrid and the northeastern region continued.
Catalonia’s regional leader says the jailing on sedition charges of the leaders of two pro-independence groups is “very bad news.”
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont reacted on Twitter after a Spanish judge agreed with prosecutors on Monday that Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the heads of grassroots groups Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, should be jailed.
Puigdemont tweeted: “They try to imprison ideas but they make stronger the need for freedom.”
The National Court in Madrid is investigating the roles the two played during pro-secession demonstrations in Barcelona on Sept. 20-21.
The speaker of Catalonia’s Parliament, Carme Forcadell, called for Sanchez and Cuixart to “return home” and described the jailing of the two “peaceful leaders” as “unjustifiable.”
The organizations posted on social media videos pre-recorded by Cuixart and Sanchez in which they called on supporters to keep peacefully demonstrating.
A Spanish judge’s decision to jail the leaders of two Catalan grassroots groups was met with a chorus banging pots and pans, honking car horns and clapping in the streets of Barcelona.
The groups, the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, have called for people across Catalonia to halt work at noon on Tuesday to protest the jailing of their leaders.
Both groups have been pivotal to the Catalan movement to secede from Spain and drawn thousands of people to demonstrations in support of the region’s independence.
A judge jailed Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly and Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural on Monday while they are investigated for sedition in their roles organizing demonstrations held Sept. 20-21 in Barcelona.
Protests at the headquarters of the national government’s representatives in the Catalan provincial capitals also are scheduled for Tuesday evening.
A Spanish judge has ordered two leaders of Catalonia’s pro-independence movement jailed while they are being investigated on possible charges of sedition.
The judge jailed Jordi Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly and Jordi Cuixart of the Omnium Cultural group after questioning them and two senior law enforcement officials on Monday.
The National Court in Madrid is investigating the roles the four played during demonstrations in Barcelona on Sept. 20-21. Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices on those dates as part of the central government’s crackdown on preparations for an Oct. 1 referendum on Catalan independence.
Earlier on Monday, the judge ruled that Catalan regional police chief Maj. Josep Lluis Trapero and colleague Lt. Teresa Laplana could remain free under several conditions. They include surrendering their passports and agreeing to appear in court every two weeks.
A Spanish judge says Catalonia’s regional police chief may remain free with restrictions in a sedition case tied to the region’s staging of a banned Oct. 1 independence referendum.
The National Court judge on Monday rejected a prosecutor’s request to jail Major Josep Lluis Trapero. But the judge withdrew Trapero’s passport, said he must remain in Spain and ordered him to appear in court every two weeks.
Trapero, another regional police officer and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are under investigation for sedition for their roles in Sept. 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona.
Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations during the demonstrations.
The court said the rulings could be changed if Trapero disobeys the conditions.
A Spanish prosecutor is asking for Catalonia’s regional police chief to be jailed in a sedition case related to the staging of Catalonia’s banned Oct. 1 secession referendum.
Maj. Josep Lluis Trapero testified for about two hours at Madrid’s National Court on Monday, following which the court prosecutor recommended he be sent to prison provisionally without bail. The judge will decide on the request after 6 p.m. (1600 GMT).
Trapero, another regional police offer and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are under investigation for sedition for their roles in Sept. 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona as Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations.
Spain’s deputy prime minister says that Catalonia’s leader didn’t give an adequate response in his letter about the region’s independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country’s laws.
Carles Puigdemont’s letter, issued two hours before a Monday deadline, didn’t clarify whether he in fact declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain. He called for talks with Spain’s government.
Spain’s central government wanted a simple “yes” or “no” answer from Puigdemont, something that Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that he didn’t provide.
Saenz de Santamaria said in an address to reporters that “it wasn’t very difficult to say yes or no. That was the question that was asked and the response shouldn’t be complicated.”
She said he has until Thursday morning to fall in line, or faces the possibility of Spain activating Article 155 of the Constitution which would allow the central government to take over parts of Catalonia’s self-governance.
She said that Puigdemont’s call for dialogue is “not credible” and that Spain’s national parliament is the place to talk.
Two senior Catalan regional police force officers and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are in court again, facing possible sedition charges related to the staging of the region’s banned Oct. 1 secession referendum.
The sedition case is investigating the roles of the four in Sept. 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona as Spanish police arrested several Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations.
The four include Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero and Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly.
The appearance at the National Court in Madrid on Monday coincided with the release of a letter from Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in which he didn’t clarify whether he declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain last week. Spain’s government had given him a Monday deadline to respond explicitly whether he proclaimed independence.
Catalonia’s leader hasn’t clarified whether he declared independence from Spain in a letter to the central government and has renewed a call for dialogue.
Last week, Spain had set a Monday deadline for Carles Puigdemont to explicitly say whether or not he proclaimed that Catalonia was breaking away from Spain.
Puigdemont held a banned independence referendum on Oct. 1 and then made an ambiguous declaration of independence last week. He then immediately suspended the declaration to allow time for talks and mediation.
In Monday’s letter, Puigdemont didn’t answer “yes” or “no” to the question “have you declared independence in Catalonia” as demanded by the Spanish government. He called for two months of dialogue and requested that Spanish authorities halt “all repression” in Catalonia.