Catalan Speaker in Madrid court

Thousands of people rally outside the cathedral of Barcelona this evening waving Catalan flags and holding up placards last night

Thousands of people rally outside the cathedral of Barcelona this evening waving Catalan flags and holding up placards last night

Forcadell, long one of the leading figures of the Catalan independence movement, testified Thursday that the independence declaration was "symbolic", according to lawyers familiar with the proceedings.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge on Thursday ordered the Catalan parliament speaker be released on bail of 150,000 euros ($174,615) pending an investigation into her role in Catalonia's banned push for independence, a court source said.

Court sources had quoted Forcadell and other summoned Catalan lawmakers as telling the judge that the independence declaration had not been legally binding - comments that the Spanish government welcomed on Friday.

"We're going back home", she tweeted later. With the calm knowledge of having acted correctly: guaranteeing freedom of expression in the parliament, the center of national sovereignty.

The Spanish High Court has also issued a European arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, former Catalan president, and four other members of his Cabinet who are now in Belgium.

All of them are being investigated for rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of funds for their roles in the October 27 declaration of independence passed in Catalonia's Parliament. However, in his ruling, the judge wrote: "All the accused. have expressed that either they renounce future political activity or, those that remain active, will do it renouncing any actions outside the constitutional framework". The judge also set bail for the other four.

Spain's High Court issued an arrest warrant last week on sedition and rebellion charges for Puigdemont and four former members of his cabinet who are also in Brussels.

A top Catalan lawmaker who spent the night in a Madrid region prison as part of a wide-ranging rebellion investigation stemming from the Spanish region's declaration of independence has been released after posting bail.

Meanwhile, Spanish prosecutors are still pushing for the extradition of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and five of his former ministers.

Eight former members of the Catalan government and the leaders of the two main pro-independence grassroots groups remain in custody awaiting trial on charges of rebellion and sedition.

Forcadell was one of several dismissed Catalan officials to be detained after their shock decision last month to declare the region of 7.5 million people independent from Spain.

The Spanish government responded by seizing control of the wealthy northeastern region, the first time in the four decades since Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship ended that Madrid removed powers from any of the country's 17 regions. Puigdemont claimed a banned October 1 secession referendum gave it a mandate to declare independence.

The Catalonia Parliament was dissolved by Madrid after the declaration of independence.

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