Pro independence demonstrators march during a protest in support of Catalonian politicians who have been jailed on charges of sedition in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 25, 2018. Puigdemont was arrested Sunday by German police on an international warrant as he tried to enter the country from Denmark. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The Latest: Thousands in Barcelona decry Puigdemont capture

March 25, 2018 - 12:05 pm

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Catalonia separatist movement and Spain (all times local):

6 p.m.

Thousands of Catalans are gathering in downtown Barcelona to protest the detention of fugitive former president Carles Puigdemont in Germany.

Protestors are rallying in front of the office of the European Commission in Barcelona and organizers plan to march to the German Consulate.

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

A grassroots group in favor of Catalonia staying a part of Spain called for another gathering at the same time in Barcelona to show their support for the Constitution in front of the office of the Spanish government's representative in Catalonia.

Puigdemont was detained by German police Sunday who were executing an international warrant issued by Spain on Friday. He was returning from Finland to Belgium, where he fled following an illegal declaration of independence by the Spanish region in October.

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5:30 p.m.

Police in Scotland say the lawyer of a fugitive former member of Catalonia's government has been in touch with the force, and is preparing for the politician to be handed over to authorities.

A European warrant was issued Friday for Clara Ponsati, Catalonia's former education chief, who fled from Spain along with former regional president Carles Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders in October after a failed independence bid. She has since renounced her seat in the Catalan parliament.

In the past few weeks, Ponsati had moved from Belgium to Scotland and returned to her work at the University of St. Andrews, where she is a professor of economics.

Scottish police have tweeted that they had been making enquiries to trace Ponsati, whose lawyer has now contacted the force so she can hand herself in.

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4:55 p.m.

The detention of the fugitive ex-leader of secession-minded Catalonia has sparked mixed reactions in Spain.

Albert Rivera, the president of the pro-Spain Citizens party, celebrated the capture of Carles Puigdemont, who he accused of trying to carry out a "coup."

Rivera wrote on his Twitter account: "Trying to destroy a European democracy, ignoring the laws of democracy, shattering our harmonious co-existence and embezzling public funds to do so can't go unpunished, Justice has done its job."

Puigdemont's supporters, however, lamented his capture and said they hoped Germany won't honor Spain's extradition request.

Elsa Artadi, a member of the Catalan parliament considered to be in Puigdemont's inner circle, responded to his detention by writing on Twitter: "Spain does not guarantee a fair trial, only revenge and repression."

Puigdemont was detained in Germany while traveling 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.

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4 p.m.

Spain says that its intelligence services and police worked with German police to orchestrate the detention of the fugitive former leader of Catalonia's separatist movement.

A Spanish police official told The Associated Press on customary condition of anonymity that Spain's National Center for Intelligence and police agents from its international cooperation division helped German police in the capture of Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont was stopped by German police entering from Denmark.

Puigdemont was returning from a visit to Finland and on his way to Belgium, where he has been living since fleeing Spain in October following an illegal— and unsuccessful— declaration of independence by his regional government.

A Spanish judge reactivated an international warrant for Puigdemont and five other fugitive separatist leaders from northeastern Spain on Friday.

--By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona.

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3:45 p.m.

German news agency dpa has reported that Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont has been taken to a prison in the northern town of Neumuenster following his detention on a European warrant as he entered Germany from Denmark.

Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believe to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison Sunday afternoon.

Police in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein say that highway police detained Puigdemont at 11:19 a.m. (0919 GMT; 4:19 a.m. EDT) near the A7 highway which leads from Denmark into Germany. His lawyer says Puigdemont was on his way back to Belgium where he has been staying since fleeing Spain following a failed bid by his regional government in October to declare independence from Spain.

Deputy state prosecutor Ralph Doepper from Schleswig, which is 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Neumuenster, said that a German court would likely decide by Monday whether Puigdemont would be put into custody pending the outcome of his extradition case.

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3:25 p.m.

German state prosecutors say they are checking for how long Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont can remain in police custody following his detention on a European warrant as he entered the country from Denmark.

Police in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein said highway police detained Puigdemont Sunday at 11:19 a.m. (0919 GMT; 4:19 a.m. EDT) near the A7 highway which leads from Denmark into Germany.

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

Doepper said that "we are at the very beginning of our assessment." He refused to give any details on the Catalan leader's current whereabouts other than to say "we had information that he would be in Germany or would enter Germany."

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1:30 p.m.

German police say they have detained fugitive Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont on a European warrant.

Police in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein said highway police detained Puigdemont on Sunday morning near the A7 highway 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 Friday for their attempts to make the region independent of Spain, dealing a heavy blow to the secessionist movement. The judge ordered international warrants for the six Catalan officials who are fugitives, including Puigdemont.

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12:50 p.m.

Fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is being held by German police on a Spanish warrant after trying to cross into Germany from Denmark.

His lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, confirmed to The Associated Press that German police stopped Puigdemont on Sunday when he was crossing the border. He says Puigdemont is at a police station.

Alonso-Cuevillas says Puigdemont was on his way back to Belgium where he has been staying since fleeing Spain following a failed bid by his regional government in October to declare independence from Spain.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge reactivated an international warrant for Puigdemont on Friday when he was visiting Finland. Arrest warrants have also been issued for five other Catalan separatists.

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