Thousands protest after ex-Catalan leader detained

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- Demonstrators angered by the detention of former leader Carles Puigdemont blocked highways across Catalonia and roads in central Barcelona on Tuesday, as the separatist politician remained in a German jail pending a decision on Spain's extradition request.

The protesters blocked an important route to the north of the Catalan region early in the morning to protest against the arrest of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

Monday's court date was merely to confirm Puigdemont's identity, and then to order his detention until a higher regional court makes a decision on an extradition warrant.

Puigdemont's arrest comes five months after he went on the run as Spanish prosecutors sought to charge him with sedition and rebellion in the wake of Catalonia's failed independence bid in October a year ago. He was arrested Sunday night by German police, acting on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Spain, as he crossed the border into Germany from Denmark.

The police were acting on an worldwide arrest warrant issued by Spain.

According to Puigdemont's lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, he was on his way back to Belgium, where he fled after Spanish authorities moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office for Schleswig-Holstein state told AFP it would "probably not come this week" ahead of the four-day Easter holiday. Aside from Puigdemont, nine other Catalan separatist leaders are in jail in Spain over the wealthy northeastern region's failed breakaway attempt.

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flags during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona on October 29, 2017.

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A decision on extradition must normally be made within 60 days under German law.

Puigdemont was president of Catalonia until past year.

Spanish cabinet's spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said during a press conference that the United Nations will request Madrid to explain the situation with Puigdemont.

In a new burst of activity in the matter on Friday, Spanish officials issued fresh charges against several separatist leaders and renewed a European arrest warrant against Puigdemont, which had been withdrawn in December.

The UN Human Rights Committee said that Spain has six months to offer its arguments, while Puigdemont is to state which measures he would like to be taken in case his complaint is satisfied.

It is not clear if Mr Puigdemont will be extradited from Germany. "Spain does not guarantee a fair trial; only revenge and repression", she wrote on Twitter.