CATALUNYA is braced for more tension as Madrid moves to strip the region of its political powers.
On Sunday, Puigdemont, the Catalan President, was threatened with a possible 30-year jail term after being removed from office on Friday.
Around 150 Catalan ministers stand to lose their jobs as Mariano Rajoy’s government activates Article 155 to assume control of the region.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said Puigdemont could still stand in regional elections called for December 21.
“I don’t know what kind of judicial activity will happen between now and 21 December,” said Dastis.
“If he is not put in jail at that time I think he is not ineligible.”
He added: “We are not taking autonomy away from Catalonia. We are just re-establishing it, in fact.”
Belgian officials have indicated they may be willing to offer Puigdemont political asylum.
Theo Francken, Belgium migration minister, said: “It is not unrealistic if you look at the situation.
“They are already talking about a prison sentence. The question is to what extent he would get a fair trial.”
On Sunday, thousands of pro-union supporters marched in Barcelona.
Spanish officials claim up to one million demonstrators took part in the protest.
Pro-independence Catalan groups have called for civil disobedience in protest at Madrid’s actions.
Spain’s Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido has written to Catalanyua’s 17,000 regional police officers urging them to get behind the ‘new era’.
Mossos police chief Josep Lluis Trapero, who is currently being investigated for sedition, was also axed in this weekend’s cull.