Newly elected Catalan regional leader Quim Torra outside the Estremera prison near Madrid where he visited Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and  other pro-independence politicians who are jailed there. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Spanish direct rule remains after Quim Torra appoints jailed and exiled politicians

Girls skate next to a graffiti reading in Basque “ETA, the people with you” in the Spanish Basque village of Hernani. The militant separatist group announced its dissolution earlier this month. Photograph: Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images

Marked surge in Spanish unionism unnerves nationalists in northern region

Speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, watches as new Catalan president Quim Torra takes the oath of office at the regional government’s headquarters in Barcelona on Thursday. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA

Ciudadanos urges PM to act swiftly to curtail any fresh attempts at unilateral secession

Newly elected Catalonia regional president Quim Torra in the Catalan parliament on Monday. Photograph:   Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Catalan parliament votes in candidate handpicked by Puigdemont to end stalemate

Ian Gibson: ‘I didn’t want to die without revising the book, it was a moral obligation’

Ian Gibson has lived in Spain for decades and is best known for his work on the poet Federico García Lorca

Joaquim “Quim” Torra:  the candidate proposed by former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to head the regional Catalan government. Photograph: Luis Felipe Castilleja/Reuters

Unionists warn against ‘xenophobic’ Joaquim ‘Quim’ Torra as president

MujeresRtve: one of La 1’s newscasters in black on Friday

Journalists wear black and share claims of manipulation by superiors

JxCat party spokeswoman Elsa Artadi  and party members:  to avert an election, pro-independence parties may propose a less controversial candidate for president such as Ms Artadi.  Photograph: Toni Albir/EPA

Controversial move permitting exile to exert power from abroad likely to be blocked

Three Eta militants: now disbanded group complains the nearly 250 of its members in Spanish prisons are deliberately kept in jails far from their families.  Photograph: AFP/Gara.net

Basque terrorist group says it has ‘dissolved all structures’ and ended its ‘political project’

Hundreds  gather at the palace of justice after the sentencing hearing of the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old during San Fermines fiestas, in Pamplona. Photograph: Villar Lopez

Pamplona and Madrid among cities in which protesters chanted ‘It’s not abuse, it’s rape’

Lawyer Eduardo Ranz, with  family members of Spanish Civil War victims who want their dead relatives exhumed, at the entrance of the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen. Photograph: Juan Medina

Families want to exhume bodies of loved ones buried next to Spanish dictator

 President of Madrid’s regional government  Cristina Cifuentes resigns on Wednesday at a press conference in Madrid, Spain.  Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Cristina Cifuentes of Popular Party resigns after footage emerges of supermarket incident

Spanish customs officers and police unload a shipment of cocaine from a vessel called Riptide at the port of Vigo, northwestern Spain, in June  2013. File photograph: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

Madrid Letter: Controversy fuels success of Galicia-based ‘Fariña’ TV show set in 1980s

Supporters  gather outside the Madrid court as eight people go on trial accused of assault and terrorist threats on two civil guard officers in   northern Spain in 2016. Photograph: Fernando Villar/EPA

Eight youths face terrorist charges after civil guards hospitalised in northern Spain in 2016

Activists put up a placard asking for the release of jailed separatist leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart and reading “freedom to political prisoners”. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Madrid compares pro-independence activity to terrorism but activists insist it is not violent

Former  Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont: allowed to go free from Neumünster prison after paying €75,000 in bail. Photograph: Martti Kainulainen/AFP/Getty Images

Former Catalan leader, released on bail, could still face trial for misuse of public funds

Cristina Cifuentes attends the town hall’s plenary session in Madrid, a day after news broke of the scandal that accuses her of falsifying a university master’s degree. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Politician did not attend classes and university falsified documents, newspaper claims

 Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí leaves after she was granted bail, following her appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

Catalan politician Clara Ponsatí hands herself in to Scottish authorities

The Catalan separatist flag lies on the ground as protesters shout slogans during demonstrations after the detention of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Photograph: Angel Garcia/ Bloomberg

Arrest of Carles Puigdemont in Germany comes as Spanish supreme court formalises charges of rebellion against 13 Catalan politicia(...)

Alberto Álvarez, of the Élite taxi drivers’ association, has become a figurehead of the campaign against Uber in Barcelona. Photograph: Guy Hedgecoe

Regulatory restrictions and incensed taxi drivers make city a challenge for company

Catalan politician Jordi Turull returns to the supreme court during a break in proceedings as part of an investigation into Catalonia’s banned bid for independence in Madrid on Friday. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Secessionist leader Marta Rovira flees to Switzerland as 13 politicians charged with rebellion

Jordi Turull, from Carles Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxCat) coalition,  is expected to be the presidential candidate. Photograph: Luis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Investiture vote could take place as soon as Thursday due to judicial pressures

Patricia Ramirez  and Angel Cruz mourn at the coffin of their  son Gabriel Cruz (8) outside the cathedral in Almeria, Spain, Photograph: Carlos  Barba

Eleven-day search for Gabriel Cruz ended in arrest of father’s partner, Ana Julia Quezada

Loewe  handbags and high-quality leather goods   on display in the Barrio Salamanca, a fashionable shopping  area  in Madrid. Photograph: Cristina Arias/Getty Images

Current definition too negative and fails to take account of emotions, firms argue

Civil Guard agents conduct checks at a security control point at El Prat airport in Barcelona, Spain. File photograph: Toni Albir/EPA

Three-year investigation reveals efforts to smuggling mostly Chinese migrants into UK and Republic

Darío Adanti  and Edu Galán:   they have struck a chord in Spanish society and clearly see this as their vocation

Tone of Mongolia magazine is risque, irreverent and politically indiscriminate

 Jordi Sanchez, who has been in prison since September, awaiting trial for sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Jordi Sànchez has been refused leave to be sworn in as regional leader

The “March for Women” in Vigo, Spain this week. Thousands attended the march ahead of International Women’s Week calling for gender equality. Photograph: Salvador Sas/EPA

Madrid Letter: Political right accuses leftists of commandeering protests

Carles Puigdemont: his choice of  Jordi Sànchez as an alternative candidate  is likely to be contentious. Photograph:  Josep Lago/AFP/Getty

Catalan independence champion presents human rights complaint against Spain to UN

Catalan National Assembly president Jordi Sánchez, who is under investigation for sedition and rebellion, arriving  at a court in Madrid. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

Main secessionist parties agree to back Jordi Sánchez

ETA has not killed anyone since 2010 and staged a decommissioning ceremony in southern France last year, prompting speculation that its demobilisation was imminent. Photograph: AP

Newspaper gains access to internal communique sent to militants

 Anna Gabriel, a senior figure in the Popular Unity Candidacy party, said she would remain in Switzerland, claiming that the Spanish  judiciary would treat her unfairly. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

‘I will be more use to my movement free than behind bars,’ says Anna Gabriel

Marta Sanchez, one of Spain’s best-known singers, sang the national anthem using her own lyrics. Photograph:  Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Right-wing parties swoon after pop star performs new words to national tune

The court ruled that  convicted Eta terrorists Igor Portu (left) and Mattin Sarasola  had suffered “degrading and inhumane” treatment by Spanish security forces after their detention in 2008.  Photograph: Reuters

Two men carried out 2006 attack on Madrid airport car park, killing two

Superimposed Christ image and Daniel Serrano: a court in Jaén ordered  Mr Serrano to pay €480 for committing a crime against religious feelings.

Spanish court finds Daniel Serrano guilty of offending religious feelings with picture

“In order to make a sniffing tube that does not damage the nostrils it is best to use rolled-up paper or cardboard rather than piping or other hard material,” the pamphlet advises.   Photograph: iStock

Zaragoza authorities under fire for including consumption advice in document

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont attends a meeting in Brussels on Monday with representatives of pro-independence parties. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Secessionist parties meet to discuss deal to put new Catalan president in place

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont: messages appear to say he is withdrawing from politics to concentrate on his legal affairs.  Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Exiled Catalan independence leader appears to accept defeat in bid to be president

People wearing masks depicting ousted separatist leader Carles Puigdemont attend a demonstration on January 30th in Barcelona. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty

Catalan parliament in limbo as speaker calls off debate to swear in new president

Carles Puigdemont: Madrid fears the politician may sneak across the border with France “in a helicopter, in a boat or in the boot of a car”. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer refuses to rule out dramatic return by exiled politician

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy: under pressure. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Senior member of Rajoy’s governing Popular Party confirms kickbacks system

Former Catalan president  Carles Puigdemont poses for photographs with students as he leaves the University of Copenhagen after attending a debate on Monday. Photograph:  Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Court rejects Spanish prosecutor’s request after Puigdemont travels to conference

Ribbon in support of Catalonian politicians who have been jailed on charges of sedition. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP Photo

Uncertainty surrounds Puigdemont’s plan to be sworn in from exile in Belgium

The Palau de la Música Catalana concert venue in Barcelona, which was used as a front for false invoicing in a scam involving the party. Photograph: JTB/UIG via Getty Images

CDC received bribes in exchange for public contracts for 10 years from 1999, court finds

Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont, who is in exile in Belgium. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Puigdemont seeks to become regional leader again ‘by Skype’ despite his exile

Young Moroccans clash with sub-Saharan migrants on November 24th in Casablanca. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

‘Saving lives is not a crime,’ says NGO worker, who helps African migrants in trouble at sea

Deposed Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras is among several politicians  awaiting trial for promoting secession via an outlawed referendum and an October 27th unilateral Catalan declaration of independence. File photograph: Paul White/AP Photo

Oriol Junqueras a candidate to lead Catalonia if exiled president does not return

Architect Oriol Capdevila in Barcelona’s Poble Nou district where he helped build the Olympic Village. Photograph: Guy Hedgecoe

A quarter century after Olympic glory, the Catalan capital counts the cost of success

Axed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont: has hinted at a less strident approach to independence in the future. Photograph: Thierry Roge/AFP/Getty Images

Moderation is one victim of result as region’s voters become increasingly polarised

Carles Puigdemont,  dismissed president of Catalonia, reacts while viewing the results in Catalonia’s regional election in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Regional election deals stunning blow to Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy

 Spanish and Catalonian pro-independence flags hang from balconies in Badalona, Catalonia, a day before the Catalonian regional elections on December 21st, 2017. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA

Pro-independence parties closer to forming majority than unionists, polls indicate

 Candidate for the centre-right party Ciudadanos Inés Arrimadas: has become the leading unionist figure in the northeastern region and  polls suggest her party is a contender to win Thursday’s election.Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Ciudadanos leader seeks victory in Catalan election but presidency may still be elusive

Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan regional police officers) keep protesters back from the entrance of the Lleida Museum after police entered the museum to take some 40 contested artworks. Photograph:  Albert Salame/Reuters

Pro-independence camp claims Madrid has ‘plundered’ artworks in show of power

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a speech during a visit to the Freixenet winery in Barcelona last Wednesday. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Calling an election in Catalonia following its failed bid for independence was a bold move by Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy. As electio(...)

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

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