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Catalan parliament speaker in Madrid court over independence bid

The speaker of Catalonia’s sacked parliament appeared before Spain’s Supreme Court on Thursday in the latest legal case brought against separatist leaders for their role in the region’s divisive independence bid.

A judge may decide to detain Carme Forcadell and five former lawmakers on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds after Catalan lawmakers voted last month to split from Spain.

They are suspected of having followed a “concerted strategy to declare independence”, before the official declaration of the Catalan parliament on October 27, deepening Spain’s most serious political crisis in decades.

That declaration was annulled on Wednesday by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

The Catalan crisis has prompted hundreds of businesses to re-register outside the wealthy northeastern region and caused disquiet in a European Union still dealing with Britain’s shock decision to leave.

On Wednesday a general strike called in Catalonia by a pro-independence union caused widespread travel chaos, cutting Spain’s main highway link to France and the rest of Europe and disrupting trains from Barcelona to Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

Authorities said around 150,000 people were affected.

Despite the blockages, the walkout was however on a far smaller scale than previous strikes in the region.

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