Seven separatist Catalan activists allegedly sent to jail over terrorism charges and explosive possession

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(Reuters) – Seven Catalan activists were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization and possessing explosives and jailed on Thursday pending further investigation, a source in Spain’s high court said. 

The seven were arrested on Monday. Prosecutors allege they were planning violent acts in the coming weeks to seek independence for their region.

Two of the seven have told investigators they were making and testing explosives, another source linked to the investigation said on Thursday. The second source told Reuters two of the arrested had told investigators they bought chemical components to make explosives and carried out tests in a quarry.

The judge considered there are indications “the seven detained belong to an … organization that intends to establish the Catalan republic by any means, including violent ones”, the first source said.

Any use of explosives by supporters of Catalan secession would mark a sharp change in tactics. 

Catalan separatism has posed a major challenge for Spain for years and triggered the country’s biggest political crisis in decades in 2017 when the region briefly declared independence. 

But campaigners have made their case through mass protests and political action, not attacks, in contrast to a Basque separatist campaign that was for decades marked by violent insurgency until ETA (Basque Homeland and Liberty) ended their fight in 2018.

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