Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont taking part in a pro-independence rally for Catalonia, in Brussels on  December 7th. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Pro-independence Carles Puigdemont conducting campaign from exile in Belgium

Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont appears on a giant screen during an event held by his political platform Junts per Catalunya to mark the start of the campaign for the Catalan regional election, in Barcelona on Monday. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

Judge makes decision due to technical concerns about eventual trial of Puigdemont

A man attends a concert organised by the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly to demand the release of jailed Catalan cabinet members, at Plaza Espanya square in Barcelona  on Sunday. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Political landscape finely balanced as Catalans deeply divided over sovereignty

A protester holds a smoke bomb during a strike by taxi drivers in Madrid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Major disruption as taxi drivers claim controversial American firm flouts local laws

Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón has criticised the terrorism charges brought against a group of young people accused of involvement in the attack of two civil guards last year in a bar in northern Spain. Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters

Youths face terrorism charges after fracas with civil guards

 A Spanish Maritime Rescue ship carrying the 90 rescued migrants arrives at the port of Almeria, Spain, last week. Photograph: Carlos Barba/EPA

Government accused of using racist language after arrival of migrants from Africa

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont:  will argue that Spain’s attempts to repatriate him are unlawful and politically motivated. Photograph:  Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Deposed Catalan leader facing Spanish extradition proceedings on Friday

Mariano Rajoy’s administration has complained to the Russian embassy about the alleged interference, according to a report. Photograph: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Madrid also claims that Julian Assange is ‘manipulating the democratic process’

 Former Catalan regional parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, with other members of the Catalan parliament, was ordered to appear in court under alleged charges of rebellion and sedition. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Carme Forcadell tells court independence declaration was ‘symbolic’

The jerseys the Spanish national soccer team will be using at the 2018 Fifa  World Cup in Russia. Photograph: EPA

Purple colouring reminds many of leftist pre-war flag

 Dismissed Catalan cabinet members  arrive at Spain’s high court   after being summoned to testify on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Photograph:  Reuters/ Susana Vera

Judicial decision is likely to have profound political repercussions

A man holds an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a gathering in support of the jailed members of the dismissed Catalan cabinet in  Barcelona on Thursday night. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Trial pending on charges linked to drive for independence, including rebellion and sedition

Mayor of Sabadell Maties Serracant: 'We know we’re not yet in a Catalan republic.' Photograph: Guy Hedgecoe

Catalonia is in limbo as direct rule begins, but independence activists remain optimistic

Carles Puigdemont: ousted Catalan leader said he fled Spain for fear he and his government wouldn’t get a fair trial. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Catalan parliamentary election on December 21st could divide pro-independence forces

A portrait of dismissed Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont, in  the   Catalonian regional government offices in Barcelona. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA

Spain’s state prosecutor seeking criminal charges against key independence leaders

Pro-unity supporters take part in a demonstration in central Barcelona on  October 29th. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

‘You have to take sides and that makes more and more people go to the extremes’

A protester holds a sign reading ‘Being Catalan is a pride, being Spanish is an honour’ as others wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flags during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona. Photograph: Lluis Genelluis/AFP/Getty Images

March comes two days after Spanish government took control of disputed region

Demonstrators from far-right Spanish  groups light flares and chant slogans after marching from Plaza Espanya square  in Barcelona in mid-October. The group marched on Spain’s National Day chanting anti-separatist slogans to protest Catalonia’s push for independence. File photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Catalans in turmoil as they find themselves split on geographical, class and ethnic lines

A pro-unity demonstrator displays a Spanish flag to Catalan police after the regional parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona on Friday. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Catalan independence and Madrid move to take control of region riddled with risk

Independence supporters in Barcelona reacting to the news the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence from Spain. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Madrid removes Puigdemont after declaration of independence

Protesters chant at a group of Spanish National Police during a Catalan pro-independence strike of university students on October 26th, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Catalan independence movement regards unprecedented move as highly provocative

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont during a parliamentary session at the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on Thursday evening. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

Regional parliament debates firm response to introduction of direct rule by Spain

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, applauds during a demonstration against the Spanish government and the imprisonment of separatist leaders, in Barcelona on Saturday.  Photograph: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Region’s parliament to debate response to Spanish government’s move on Thursday

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, participates in a demonstration on Saturday against the Spanish government and the imprisonment of separatist leaders. Photograph: Bloomberg

It’s hard to view Madrid taking control as anything other than a hard re-centralisation

 People wave Catalan independence flags after listening to a  statement by Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Uncertainty after prime minister takes unprecedented step of intervening in region

Thousands of people protest in Barcelona: the demonstrators were demanding the release of imprisoned seperatist leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA

Catalonia’s independence advocates are winning ‘the battle of image and emotions’

A demonstrator holds up an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a gathering in Barcelona. Photograph: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Warning of backlash against Spanish government decision to use direct rule

Catalan independence leaders Jordi Cuixart (left) and Jordi Sanchez    arrive on Monday at the high court in Madrid, which ordered their detention. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Conflict not between Catalonia and Spain but between ‘legality and illegality’, says Madrid

A woman walks past a pro-independence graffiti in a street in Barcelona on Monday. Photograph:  Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Spanish government moves closer to taking direct control of region

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (second left) takes part in a floral tribute in Barcelona on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the death of former Catalan regional president Lluís Companys, who was executed by Franco’s forces in 1940. Photograph: Marta Perez/EPA

Spanish government issues ultimatum as pro-independence forces remain split

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy in parliament on Wednesday. “If Puigdemont respects legality then a period of illegality and uncertainty will come to an end,” he said. Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA

Regional election looking likely as Madrid considers response to announcement

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont  is applauded after  addressing the region’s parliament in Barcelona. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

Deputy PM says Catalan leader ‘doesn’t know where he is or where he is going’

Pro-independence supporters react as they watch Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on broadcast screens outside the Catalan parliament. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

‘We are not criminals, we’re not crazy, we’re not coupmongers ... we are normal people and we want to vote’

Pro-independence supporters  watch on broadcast screens outside the Catalan parliament as regional president Carles Puigdemont outlines his government’s response to  the referendum result  of  October 10th. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

‘We’ve wanted this for a long time ... we’ve got our hopes up’

A man wearing a Spanish flag gives “free hugs” in central Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Region’s president Carles Puigdemont due to make widely anticipated address today

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont: many believe he will make “a symbolic statement” rather than a full independence declaration. Photograph: AFP/ Getty Images

Regional leader Carles Puigdemont poised to make announcement

Protesters hold Spanish flags during a demonstration in Barcelona on Sunday called by “Societat Civil Catalana” (Catalan Civil Society) to support the unity of Spain. Photograph:  Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

Barcelona government under increasing pressure to rethink secessionist strategy

Protesters hold a giant Catalan pro-independence ‘Estelada’ flag during a demonstration at the Placa de la Universitat square in Barcelona during a general strike in Catalonia called by Catalan unions on October 3rd. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

There were bloody scenes as riot police broke into polling stations wielding batons and dragging voters away during referendum

Josep Luis Trapero, chief of the Catalan police Mossos d’Esquadra. Photograph:  AFP/Getty Images

They ignored instructions from Madrid, now independence supporters see them as heroes

A group of pro-union supporters demonstrate in a square in Sabadell, Calatonia, on Friday. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Fleeing banks make chances of an imminent declaration of independence more remote

Spanish national police   stand outside their hotel as locals protest against their presence in  Pineda de Mar, north of Barcelona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Thousands protest against police clampdown in Catalonia on day of the referendum

15,000 students take part in a protest in Barcelona on Monday against Spanish police forces’ actions during Sunday’s referendum. Photograph: EPA/JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS

Puigdemont says Spanish police should leave region as unions plan strike

People shout slogans as they wave Catalan pro-independence ‘Estelada’ flags during a protest in Barcelona on Monday. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images

The next step may include anything from dialogue to a unilateral declaration of independence

A man faces off with a Spanish Civil Guard officer outside a polling station for the Catalan independence referendum in Sant Julià de Ramis, Spain. Photograph: Reuters/Albert Gea

EU politicians condemn security response as riot police raid schools and remove voters

Spanish police scuffle with people outside a polling station for the banned independence referendum in Tarragona, Spain. Photograph: David Gonzalez/Reuters

Catalan government claims 90% of those who cast ballots voted to secede from Spain

 A Catalan man with his child in his arms argues with a Spanish National riot policemen during clashes outside the Ramon Llull school in Barcelona. Photograph: Andreu Dalmau/EPA

Spanish government’s crackdown over controversial poll widens rift with region

Josep Maria Belver (77) wears a shirt with the colors of a separatist flag as he sings the Catalan anthem before a political meeting in favour of the independence referendum outside the University of Barcelona. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

Catalonia on verge of biggest upheaval of modern history if poll goes ahead

A man holds a dummy ballot before participating in a symbolic vote organised two days before a banned independence referendum in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia. Photograph: Reuters/Rafael Marchante

Sunday’s vote caps decade of misunderstanding between Madrid and its restive region

Catalan independence supporters gather at the Montjuich fountains in Barcelona on Friday ahead of Sunday’s planned referendum. Photograph: Felipe Dana/AP

Two-thirds plan to vote if referendum goes ahead despite Madrid’s attempts to block it

Students  demonstrate against the position of the Spanish government to ban the self-determination referendum, in Barcelona. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

‘We’re under a dictatorship again,’ says protester of Madrid’s actions against vote

Ken McCarthy, from Co Mayo, outside McCarthy’s Bar in Barcelona.  “If they declare independence [unilaterally], they’re a rogue state and you can’t trade with them.”

Some fear the impact the vote will have on business and tourism, while others admire the way Catalans assert their culture and lan(...)

There has  been speculation that Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (right) might issue a unilateral declaration of independence. Photograph: EPA/Quique Garcia

Barcelona regional government insists independence vote will take place

Dolores Agenjo: “There is a fear, a fear of being identified, of being on a blacklist.”

Dolores Agenjo has become a provocative symbol of resistance to Catalan nationalism

Students gather at the historical headquarters of the University of Barcelona during a pro-referendum demonstration. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Madrid deploys series of measures widely seen as heavy-handed in Catalonia

Protesters gather in front of Spanish policemen outside the headquarters of the CUP in Barcelona on Wednesday. Photograph: Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty

October 1st independence vote to go ahead, says Puigdemont, after Spanish police raid

Christian Loris, deputy coach of the Alma de África football team, in the park in Jerez where they train. Photograph: Guy Hedgecoe

After surviving perilous journey to Europe, players compete in Andalucía team

People wave “Esteladas” (pro-independence Catalan flags) in Barcelona on the national day of Catalonia, the “Diada”, on September 11th. Photograph:  Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Madrid launches legal offensive to thwart October 1st vote for Catalan independence

Thousands of people carry a giant Catalan independence flag and a banner reading ‘Referendum is Democracy’, in Barcelona,  Spain. Photograph: Roser Vilallonga/ Catalan National Assembly/EPA

Thousands rally in Barcelona amid Spanish government threats over illegal referendum

Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero  has gained folk-hero status, particularly among Catalans of a nationalist persuasion. Photograph: Andreu Dalmau/EPA

Madrid Letter: Performance of Catalan police under scrutiny as referendum looms

People hold Catalan separatist flags on Catalonia day “Diada” in central Barcelona in 2014. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Nationalists say ‘there is still time for politics’ as Madrid insists there will be no referendum

Moroccan migrants sit at the port of Barbate waiting to be transferred by Spanish Guardia Civil after being rescued in  the Strait of Gibraltar off the Spanish coast in July. Photograph: Marcos Moreno/AFP/Getty Images

Number of people making 15km crossing from Morocco to Tarifa area has quadrupled

A watermarked CCTV frame grab provided by Spanish newspaper El Pais shows a suspect walking through La Boqueria market seconds after a van crashed into pedestrians in Barcelona, on August 17th. Photograph: Courtesy of El Pais via Reuters .

Police believe Younes Abouyaaquob (22) was the driver in Las Ramblas van assault

Families of young men believed responsible for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils gather along with members of the local Muslim community to denounce terrorism and show their grief in Ripoll, north of Barcelona, SpainPhotograph: AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Family of missing suspect Younes Abouyaaquob believe attackers were radicalised by local imam

“Nobody suspected anything of this kind could be afoot, not the mayor’s office, not the residents - nobody,” deputy mayor Maria Dolors Vilalta said. Photograph: iStock

Town stunned by the news that several residents were involved in Barcelona attacks

 Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, prime minister Mariano Rajoy, King Felipe, president of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, and Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, observe a minute’s silence at Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona on Friday in honour of those killed in Thursday’s terror attack on Las Ramblas. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Spanish police hunt for driver of van in Barcelona attack as details of 14 people killed emerge

A Spanish policeman stands guard as people leave the cordoned-off area on Las Ramblas in Barcelona shortly after Thursday’s attack. Photograph: Luis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

By Friday morning 14 civilians were dead and one of Europe’s grandest cities was in shock

Policemen, residents and tourists observe a minute’s silence in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya today to pay tribute to the terror attack victims. Photograph: EPA

Crowds gather in Barcelona to condemn terrorism and support victims of the attack

A woman gestures as she is escorted out by Spanish policemen outside a cordoned off area. Photograph: Pau Barrena/Getty Images

Catalonia declares three days of mourning as authorities form crisis cabinet to deal with situation

General Francisco Franco in a 1960s photograph. On winning the Spanish civil war  in 1939, he became dictator until his death of natural causes in 1975. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Spanish dictator’s supporters claim his legacy has been misunderstood

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy speaks at a People’s Party event on violence against women after testifying in the Gurtel corruption case in Madrid. Photograph: Paul Hanna

Prime minister insists in court he had no role in Popular Party’s allegedly shady finances

The Balearic Bulls law states that animals must not be harmed or killed in the bullring, with matadors only allowed to use a cape and a stick – and not a sword as is customary – to fight the bull. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Spanish government expected to appeal against new bullfighting restrictions

Assempling a giant Estelada flag – Catalan’s separatist flag –  during a pro-independence rally in Sant Cugat del Valles, near Barcelona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Speculation mounts over drastic option to stop independence vote

Roses are placed to mark the 20th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco in Ermua, the Basque Country town where he was a Popular Party councillor. Photograph: Luis Tejido/EPA

Death of Miguel Ángel Blanco 20 years ago remembered with acrimony

Deputies of the Catalan Parliament pose with ballot boxes after the presentation of the details of the referendum of self-determination of Catalonia to be held on  October 1st.  Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Internal tensions also hamper separatists before proposed independence vote

A group of 52 migrants who were rescued  by the Spanish coastguard are met by Red Cross personnel  at Málaga harbour on June 21st. Photograph:  Guillaume Pinon/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Migrants make hazardous journeys across deserts and Mediterranean to reach Málaga

Protesters from  animal rights organisation Peta in front of the town hall in Pamplona, Spain, on Wednesday. They were demonstrating against the treatment of fighting bulls in the city’s San Fermín festival, which begins on Thursday. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

Raft of safety measures introduced as world-famous week-long festival begins

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy,  King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia and President of the Congress Ana Pastor,  during Wednesday’s celebration of the  anniversary of Spain’s first democratic elections. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images

Monarch acknowledges ‘immense tragedy’ of Franco ‘dictatorship’ for first the time

A charred forest after a wildfire in Mazagon, near the Donana National Park in southern Spain. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

Blaze threatened to cause widespread damage to Doñana wildlife reserve

 Iván Fandiño (36) died in hospital after being gored while bullfighting. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Animal rights activists applaud bull that killed Iván Fandiño in southwest France

A burned car stands on the side of the road  near Castanheira de Pera, in Leiria district, Portugal.  Photograph:   Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Death toll rises to 63, with many trapped in their homes or killed trying to flee in cars

Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez speaking in Madrid on June 18th: “In recent times we forgot who we were.” Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Spain’s socialist party leader seeks to unite deeply divided party

 Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy receives a standing ovation from his party colleagues at the end of a  no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Podemos fails to gain parliamentary support for alternative government

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration  in the Rif region in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters

Rif region demands social investment and release of demonstrators

A Catalonia independence supporter holds up a Catalan Estelada flag, with the date for the proposed independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain, on Friday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Spanish government insists vote will not be allowed to take place

People use a Santander ATM as a man leaves a Banco Popular office in Barcelona. Photograph:  Albert Gea/Reuters

Bank’s shares have lost more than half their value over past week

Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos briefs media on Santander’s acquisition of Banco Popular for one euro to prevent its collapse. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Santander says it plans to raise about €7 billion of capital as part of transaction

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica:  Basque politicians want the painting moved to their region.

Picasso’s haunting artwork is the focus of special events at the Reina Sofía in Madrid

Policemen block far-right demonstrators protesting in front of Madrid City Hall against the presence of president of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont. Photograph: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty

Pro-independence regional government expected to announce date of vote soon

Pedro Sánchez applauds supporters at the PSOE headquarters in Madrid  after winning the race for the party’s leadership. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images

New opposition leader eyes Rajoy’s minority government after primary win

Pedro Sánchez: recast himself as the standard-bearer of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party’s left wing. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

Divisive former party leader returns with radical agenda in tight primary contest

Elaine O’Donovan was an environmental engineer had an international career specialising in the provision of water and sanitation services in the developing world.

Holidaymaker Elaine O’Donovan died following swim at Playa Grande

El-Haqed, a young Moroccan rapper known for his anti-monarchy lyrics. Photographs: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Six years on from protests, inequality remains rife and freedom of speech is muzzled

The Valley of the Fallen. Republican prisoners, defeated by Franco’s troops in the 1936-39 civil war, built the dictator’s mausoleum, over which towers a 150m stone cross. Photograph: Getty Images

Spain's government is reluctant to act on historical memory issue despite pressure

Close shave: Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy at the 2017 Spanish national budget debate. Photograph: EPA/ZIPI

Opposition party Podemos demanding no-confidence vote against Mariano Rajoy

The British are by far the biggest foreign buyers in the Spanish property market

UK citizens’ demand for Spanish homes dips amid concerns over sterling and healthcare

 Carles Puigdemont,  president of Catalonia, and his vice-president, Oriol Junqueras (left), at a  ceremony in Barcelona to make official their commitment to hold a referendum on independence. Photograph: Toni Albir

Secessionist movement in Spain seeks to end infighting with support for vote

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy: court appearance is not expected to probe any direct wrongdoing on his part, but instead possibly reveal evidence against other Popular Party members. Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA

Prime minister summoned to testify in court as new cases dominate headlines

People on Levante beach in Salou, Tarragona, northeastern Spain, last weekend. Spain’s tourism sector is demanding swift action from the authorities to prevent a wave of costly new food poisoning claims. Photograph: Jaume Sellart/EPA

Resort compensation claims soar as holidaymakers blame hotels for upset stomachs

A souk in Marrakech.  Morocco has not seen the kind of political upheaval that the Arab Spring sparked in its north African neighbours. Photograph: Getty Images

Critics warn the government is turning blind eye to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism

Masked members of the Basque separatist group Eta at a news conference in an unknown location in October 2011. Photograph: Gara via AP

Basque terrorist group to hand over weapons in south of France on Saturday

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