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Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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January 2020

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Supreme Court 9 Jan ruled that Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras, currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for sedition and misuse of funds, cannot take up his seat as Member of European Parliament (MEP); European Court of Justice ruled last month that Junqueras had immunity from prosecution as an elected MEP when he was convicted by Spanish courts in Oct 2019. Trial of former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero, along with three other officials, began 20 Jan over alleged role in disputed Oct 2017 independence referendum; Trapero stands accused of rebellion and faces up to eleven years in prison. Catalonia regional govt 27 Jan removed voting powers of regional govt president Quim Torra, sparking protests from pro-independence supporters; move follows 23 Jan supreme court decision to strip Torra of his seat until a final sentence is made over his public ban for office. Torra 29 Jan announced plans for snap regional election; in reversal of previous position, central govt next day promised to begin talks over Catalonia dispute with regional govt prior to election.

December 2019

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

European Court of Justice 19 Dec ruled Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras had immunity under EU law as Member of European Parliament when he was detained by Spanish authorities in Oct; state attorney 30 Dec recommended to Supreme Court release of Junqueras. Pro-Catalan independence group Democratic Tsunami held mass protest outside main stadium in Barcelona 18 Dec; protesters clashed with police leaving dozens injured prior to match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which had already been rescheduled from Oct due to violent separatist protests.

November 2019

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Protests over Catalonia independence continued, and trial of regional president began. Catalan separatists 5 Nov burned pictures of king in anti-monarchy protest attended by some 2,000 people during royal visit to Barcelona. French riot police 12 Nov clashed with estimated 2,000 pro-Catalan independence protesters blocking road between France and Spain. Trial of president of Catalonia regional govt Quim Torra began 18 Nov in Barcelona, on charges of refusing to remove Catalonian independence symbols from public buildings.

October 2019

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Tensions flared over issue of Catalonia independence, with hundreds injured as protesters clashed with police. Supreme court 14 Oct sentenced nine pro-independence Catalan leaders to prison terms of between nine and thirteen years for sedition and other offences related to Oct 2017 independence referendum deemed illegal by constitutional court, fining another three for disobedience. In response, thousands of protesters marched to Barcelona airport, and next day attempted to enter govt offices, leading to clashes with police. Estimated hundreds of thousands rallied in Barcelona 18 Oct, with further clashes with police. Over 600 injured in protests 14-20 Oct, including some 280 police; 130 reportedly arrested. Both pro- and anti-independence supporters staged mass demonstrations late Oct.

June 2018

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Following former PM Rajoy’s loss of no-confidence vote 1 June, new govt of PM Sánchez, while maintaining opposition to Catalan independence movement, signalled more conciliatory tone toward Catalonia including lifting financial controls on region, saying it would open talks with new Catalan govt and move jailed Catalan separatists closer to home.

May 2018

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Madrid govt extended direct rule over Catalonia after rejecting regional cabinet proposed by newly elected Catalan leader Quim Torra 20 May. Separatist Torra, elected by regional parliament 13 May, had nominated to cabinet four ministers from previous regional govt who are now being held in custody or living in exile after being accused of crimes including rebellion and misuse of public funds.  Earlier in month, Madrid blocked Catalan parliament’s attempt to reappoint self-exiled former leader Carles Puigdemont as regional president.

March 2018

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Catalan parliament 22 March failed for third time to elect new regional president due to insufficient support for pro-independence candidate Jordi Turull; faces prospect of new elections if it cannot select a new president by 22 May. Spain’s Supreme Court 23 March ruled 25 Catalan pro-independence politicians will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying state, and ordered five of them to be detained pending trial, including Turull. German authorities 25 March detained former Catalan leader Puigdemont, who has been in self-imposed exile in Belgium since Nov evading arrest warrant.

February 2018

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Parties in Catalan parliament continued negotiations on new president, after Constitutional Court ruled that deposed former regional President Carles Puigdemont could only be sworn in as president if physically present and with permission of a judge.

January 2018

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Following Dec snap regional election, new Catalan parliament held opening session 17 Jan, electing pro-independence Roger Torrent as speaker; 22 Jan proposed deposed former regional President Carles Puigdemont as president. Puigdemont, who remains in self-imposed exile in Belgium evading arrest warrant, said he could be sworn in remotely by video link or by proxy. Govt 26 Jan asked Constitutional Court to block Puigdemont’s candidacy; Constitutional Court next day ruled Puigdemont could only be sworn in if physically present in parliament with permission to attend from a judge. Puigdemont’s party Together for Catalonia asked Constitutional Court to lift ban, but court dismissed request; Torrent 30 Jan postponed swearing-in.

December 2017

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Snap regional election in Catalonia 21 Dec saw three separatist parties gain narrow majority with 51.8% of vote (70 out of 135 seats), though pro-unity Ciudadanos party gained largest share of vote with 25% (37 seats). Deposed former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia party came second with 21.7% of vote. PM Rajoy 29 Dec called for new Catalan parliament to hold opening session 17 Jan, new president to be selected within ten days from then. Puigdemont, in self-imposed exile in Belgium after a warrant was issued for his arrest unilateral independence referendum in Oct, 24 Dec said he wants to return to Catalonia, and said he was ready to listen to any proposal from Rajoy.

November 2017

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Spanish judge 2 Nov ordered jailing of eight former members of Catalan govt, dismissed late Oct over region’s unilateral independence declaration; among them former regional President Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium late Oct claiming Spanish justice system was politicised. Judge next day issued European arrest warrant for Puigdemont, who 5 Nov turned himself in to Belgian police along with four other leaders; court granted bail same day. Belgian court 17 Nov deferred decision on Spain’s extradition request for the five until 4 Dec, one day before campaigning begins for snap regional elections in Catalonia set for 21 Dec. Supreme Court 10 Nov granted six Catalan parliamentary officials bail; parliamentary Speaker Carme Forcadell told judge independence declaration had been symbolic. Hundreds of thousands reportedly joined protest in Barcelona 11 Nov against jailing of deposed regional govt officials. Spanish PM Rajoy 12 Nov called on voters to turn out and help “recover Catalonia from the havoc of separatism”.

October 2017

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Catalonia pressed ahead with contested independence referendum 1 Oct; Catalan officials reported hundreds injured as police tried to block voting. Nearly 90% reportedly voted for independence; turnout reported at 43%. Spanish PM Rajoy continued to condemn referendum as illegal. Catalan parliament 27 Oct voted 70-10 to declare independence (55 abstentions); Spanish senate for first time gave Rajoy permission to apply article 155 of constitution which allows for direct rule of regions in exceptional circumstances. Rajoy 27 Oct dismissed Catalan govt and called for snap regional elections to take place in Dec. Attorney general 30 Oct announced it has filed charges against Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other members of Catalan govt of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Puigdemont and five former Catalan govt ministers travelled to Belgium hours earlier; Puigdemont next day said he would abide by Dec election, but will return to Spain only when guaranteed fair judicial process. Month saw mass protests for and against independence in Catalonia.

September 2017

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Political tensions spiralled ahead of independence referendum organised by regional govt in Catalonia (north east). Catalonian parliament 6 Sept passed law mandating binding referendum on independence 1 Oct; Spain’s Constitutional Court next day suspended law, however Catalonian regional govt pledged to proceed with referendum. Confrontation intensified ahead of vote as govt arrested some officials, deployed extra police and took measures to prevent voting, including seizing ballot papers.

August 2017

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Sixteen people killed and over 130 wounded in terrorist attacks claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) in north east 17 Aug. Fourteen killed by van driving through crowded tourist area of Barcelona; one person stabbed by fleeing attacker who seized his car; one person killed hours later when several attackers drove car through pedestrians in Cambrils, further south. Eight members of terror cell believed to be behind attack killed by police or when their bomb-making equipment blew up 16 Aug; cell believed to have been planning much larger attack.

April 2004

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Eighteen charged - 14 Moroccans, 2 Indians, Syrian and Spaniard - in connection to 11 March attacks that killed 191. Spanish agent and 7 suspected terrorists killed in 3 April suicide blast.

March 2004

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Worst terrorist attack in modern Spanish history 11 March: 10 bombs exploded in 4 commuter trains in Madrid; 191 killed, 1,400 wounded. Authorities initially blamed Basque separatists ETA who denied having any role. Spain holding 18 suspects: 11 Moroccans, 3 Syrians, 2 Spaniards, 2 Indians. Interior Minister Angel Acebes told press 30 March Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group are ‘priority’ for investigations. Aznar’s People’s party voted out of office 15 March. Socialist leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero declared in victory speech would withdraw troops unless they are given UN mandate by 30 June.

January 2004

Europe & Central Asia

Spain

Spain’s Constitutional Court upheld ban on Basque separatist party Batasuna after it refused to condemn ETA, the pro-Basque independence group.

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