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Pro-Puigdemont demonstrators block roads in Catalonia

© AFP/File | Pro-separatist demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelona after Puigdemont's arrest.

BARCELONA (AFP) - 

Demonstrators blocked main roads in Catalonia Tuesday to protest the arrest in Germany of the region's former president Carles Puigdemont and the jailing of other separatist leaders in Spain.

Regional road transport authorities said traffic was closed Tuesday morning on the A7 motorway near the French border and the national N340 that links Catalonia with Spain's southeastern coast.

The two main access roads into Barcelona were also closed, before the blockades were lifted.

The protests were called by the radical Committees for the Defence of the Republic, set up just before Catalonia held a referendum on independence on October 1 that was banned by the courts.

"With the latest jailings and the arrest of president Carles Puigdemont, it seems clear that we have crossed a point of no return," it said in a statement on Monday announcing a wave of protests.

About 90 people were slightly injured during pro-Puigdemont protests in Barcelona on Sunday, ??including 22 police officers.

Puigdemont was arrested on Sunday after he crossed the border into Germany from Denmark, under a European warrant issued by Spain.

He had spent five months on the run as Spanish prosecutors sought to charge him with sedition and rebellion in the wake of a vote by the Catalan parliament to declare independence.

His detention marks the latest chapter in a secession saga that has bitterly divided Catalans and triggered Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

Aside from Puigdemont, nine other Catalan separatist leaders are in jail in Spain over the region's failed bid for independence.

© 2018 AFP