Huge Catalan march in Brussels to ‘wake up Europe’

Pro-independence Catalans from all over Europe take part in a rally showing their support to ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his government in Brussels on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 07 December 2017
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Huge Catalan march in Brussels to ‘wake up Europe’

BRUSSELS: A sea of around 45,000 pro-Catalonia protesters demonstrated in Brussels on Thursday to show support for the region’s deposed president Carles Puigdemont and urge the EU to support its drive for independence from Spain.
Demonstrators chanted “Wake up Europe!” and waved Catalonia’s red, yellow and blue Estelada separatist flag as they marched past the European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital.
“We cannot abandon our president, who is in exile here,” Antoni Llenas, 59, a protester wearing a flag over his shoulders, told AFP. “We are here to continue the struggle for our independence and to ask for the freedom of our political prisoners.”
Belgian police said on Twitter that there were an estimated 45,000 protesters, more than double the 20,000 that organizers said they originally expected. The rally began peacefully, according to AFP reporters on the scene.
Puigdemont and four former ministers fled to Brussels in November, saying they wanted to take their cause to the European level after Spain charged them with sedition and rebellion over Catalonia’s independence referendum in October.
On Monday, the Spanish government dropped a European arrest warrant for the five, but Puigdemont said he would stay put for now as they still face arrest in Spain if they return for regional polls in Catalonia that Madrid has called for Dec. 21.
Protesters arrived in a stream of coaches and camper vans with Spanish registration plates, and gathered in the Cinquantenaire Park in the city’s European quarter before the start of the march at 1030 GMT.
Children and families were among those who began the march in high spirits despite the cold and rain.
Their route is taking them past the headquarters of the European Commission and they will end up in a square between the European Council and European Parliament.
The EU has strongly backed the Spanish government over the Catalan issue, saying that it is an internal matter for Madrid.


One dead, police arrest shooting suspect who was barricaded inside US supermarket

Police officers and members of the Los Angeles Fire Department escort a woman on a stretcher after a suspect barricaded inside a Trader Joe's supermarket in Silverlake, Los Angeles, on July 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018
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One dead, police arrest shooting suspect who was barricaded inside US supermarket

  • The suspect eventually crashed his car outside of the Trader Joe's supermarket and then ran into the store
  • Investigators believe the suspect, whose name hasn't been released, had shot his grandmother and girlfriend

LOS ANGELES: An armed suspect who allegedly shot his grandmother and another person barricaded himself in a supermarket and then shot a woman dead in the US city of Los Angeles before being taken into custody on Saturday, police said.
“A male suspect ... become involved in a family dispute which resulted in him shooting his grandmother and a female at the scene,” police Sergeant Barry Montgomery told journalists.
“That suspect fled the location in his grandmother’s vehicle, taking that female victim with him,” and eventually entered a Trader Joe’s supermarket following an “officer involved shooting,” he said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said one woman was shot in the store and later declared dead at the site.
“I regret to inform you that there is one fatality that occurred inside, of a woman,” Garcetti said, without further identifying the woman.
The suspect barricaded himself inside the supermarket with an unknown number of people, but was taken into custody “without incident,” according to police.
“We have successfully taken the suspect into custody without incident. The situation remains fluid as officers move forward clearing the location,” the Los Angeles Police Department wrote on its official Twitter account
US President Donald Trump had earlier tweeted that he was “watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely.”
Devin Field, a man who said he was walking into the store when the incident unfolded, described his experience in a series of tweets.
“I was walking in when a car crashed running from the police crashed into street lamp in front of the entrance. Gunman got out and started shooting at the cops. I hid behind a retaining wall with three cops until they had me crawl out,” wrote Field, whose Twitter account identifies him as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show.
“Gunman walked in shooting. He went into the back and took hostages. Employees snuck out through back emergency exits. Employee says blood was all over the floor, unclear from where,” he wrote.