Catalan police chief walks free after sedition hearing — UPDATED

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Europe correspondent Gavin Lee looks to the past for the origins of the Catalan crisis

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Europe correspondent Gavin Lee looks to the past for the origins of the Catalan crisis

People banged on pots and pans, honked car horns and clapped in the streets.

A court spokesman said Josep Lluis Trapero's passport would be withdrawn and he would not be able to leave Spain while the investigation continues.

The Spanish government has given the Catalan leader a Thursday deadline to inform Madrid whether he has declared independence or not. Also, the number of operations to increase market capitalization has dropped in Catalonia by 12.2 percent over the same period, while in Spain the total fell by only 1.7 percent.

Spain's central government gave Puigdemont until 10am local time today to make his intentions clear, following a lengthy, confusing speech last week in which he pledged to "suspend the effect of the independence declaration" following the region's controversial Oct. 1 referendum on breaking away from Spain. All could face sedition charges. However, the judge ruled Monday that police chief Maj.

Mr Rajoy said the stance taken by the Catalan leader had brought Madrid closer to triggering Article 155 of the constitution, under which it can impose direct rule on any of the country's 17 autonomous communities if they break the law.

In its ruling Tuesday, the court said the law was against national sovereignty and the 'indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation'.

Joan Folch lived in France for 24 years and moved back in September because of the political situation.

In Spain's worst political turmoil since a failed coup d'état in 1981, Mr Puigdemont declared independence for Catalonia last week, before promptly and confusingly suspending it in order to propose a last minute round of negotiations.

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'We urge the release of our political prisoners and call on Catalan authorities to revoke the suspension of the independence declaration and proclaim the Catalan republic, ' said Aina Delgado Morell, a representative of Universitats per la Republica, a pro-independence student organization.

Protests were also held in other towns and cities across Catalonia as well as in Valencia, Mallorca and Madrid.

The conservative prime minister, in a response less than two hours later, lamented that Puigdemont declined to answer the question and said he had until Thursday morning to fall in line.

Though it represents about a fifth of Spanish gross domestic product, Catalonia is deeply indebted to Madrid and cannot borrow internationally.

Ara (Barcelona, pro-independence):"With separatists and the Spanish government looking to see who moves the next piece, the National Court turned over the table yesterday". Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Puigdemont's request for dialogue was "not credible".

The text, of which rapporteur, Judge Andrés Ollero, insists that "a power that expressly denies right refuses itself as deserving authority of compliance".

This puts Puigdemont in a tough spot.

But Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard, a military body tasked with law enforcement, used "excessive force" to stop the vote, according to rights groups.

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