The European Parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of lifting immunity from the former leader of Spain's Catalonia region, Carles Puigdemont. Lawmakers also waived immunity for Toni Comin, the former Catalan health minister, and former regional education minister Clara Ponsati.
For a fifth night street protests in Spain on Saturday turned violent following the arrest of Pablo Hasél, a popular rapper, which has triggered a national debate on freedom of expression. But the disturbances have also strained relations inside the country's fragile coalition government.
Separatist parties in Catalonia have boosted their parliamentary majority in the regional elections. The pro-union Socialist Party, led by former health minister Salvador Illa, won the most votes to claim a narrow victory but will struggle to form a government.
Catalonia announced on Thursday a 15-day ban on entering and exiting its territory, the latest in a series of restrictions taken by Spanish regions to try and contain rampant COVID-19 contagion.
Catalonia on Wednesday ordered all residents and visitors to wear face masks in public at all times, becoming the first Spanish region to toughen a national directive mandating their use when in close proximity to others.
The northwestern Spanish region of Galicia imposed restrictions on about 70,000 people on Sunday following a COVID-19 outbreak, a day after Catalonia also introduced a local lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A Catalan separatist party said on Thursday it would abstain during the Spanish parliament's upcoming vote to confirm Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister, potentially ending the prolonged national political deadlock.
Protesters have clashed with police outside a Barcelona and Real Madrid football match at Nou Camp in Spain. Thousands of fans inside the stadium held up banners urging the Spanish government to “sit and talk” with those demanding Catalan independence.
Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati, wanted in Spain for her role in the region's unilateral bid for independence in 2017, was arrested by Scottish police on Thursday.
The European Commission fielded questions on Friday over a Twitter gaffe by its next foreign policy chief, current Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who posted a sensitive extradition-related document from UK authorities on his feed.