A Spanish judge jailed two leaders of the Catalan independence movement Monday on charges of sedition, the BBC reported, in a move that will likely only worsen a national crisis that has pitted the Spanish government against one of its wealthiest regions.
Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart are now being held without bail for their alleged role in orchestrating Catalonia’s Oct. 1 vote for independence, which Madrid deemed illegal. Specifically, the pair stand accused of having organized a September “siege”-like protest that trapped law enforcement officers in Catalan government offices, and destroyed police vehicles.
Sánchez and Cuixart — who respectively lead the pro-independence groups the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural — refused to answer the judge’s questions about their actions, despite being brought into court twice.
The same Spanish judge reportedly released Catalonia’s regional police chief and a colleague on Monday, after the judge questioned the chief about being too lax toward separatists prior to the Oct. 1 vote. The chief was also facing potential sedition charges, though they ultimately did not materialize.
In videos recorded before their detention, Sánchez and Cuixart asked supporters to continue to peacefully demonstrate. Workers are set to strike Tuesday at noon, while people are planning to protest at the Madrid government’s Catalonian headquarters on Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported.
Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s separatist leader, called the jailing “very bad news,” but failed to clarify his quixotic position regarding the region’s independence.
Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence for the region last Tuesday, but has since said that the declaration would be suspended so that his group could negotiate with Madrid. This has not pleased Spain’s President Mariano Rajoy, who has declined such talks and repeatedly demanded Puigdemont clarify whether his regional government officially declared independence or not.