Spain

The prosecutor's office in Brussels says the former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has turned himself in to police, along with several of his former government ministers. Now, a Belgian judge must decide whether to extradite the ousted officials to Spain, where they face charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds for their roles in Catalonia's attempt to secede from Spain.

On Monday morning, Catalan officials showed up at their offices — and, in some cases, were escorted out by police just minutes later.

The Spanish government instituted direct rule over the formerly semi-autonomous region of Catalonia on Friday, which had declared independence from Spain.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters decrying the Catalan government's push for independence came together in Barcelona on Sunday, in one of the biggest gatherings of Spanish unity supporters.

Waving flags and singing "Viva España," the marchers gave voice to what some have called the silent majority in a region whose government declared independence from Spain on Friday.

Updated at 5:15 a.m. ET

Spain was preparing to impose direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia after the region's leader Carles Puigdemont declined to categorically renounce an independence referendum, the prime minister's office announced Thursday.

Spain's government said it would hold a special Cabinet meeting and "approve the measures that will be sent to the Senate to protect the general interest of all Spaniards."

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday issued a warning to the country's would-be breakaway region of Catalonia, saying Madrid would prevent any move toward independence.

Rajoy's comments, published in the German newspaper Die Welt, come amid a growing political crisis over the region in eastern Spain of 7.5 million people that voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum on Oct. 1.

Scenes of chaos and violence unfolded in Catalonia as an independence referendum deemed illegal by Madrid devolved quickly on Sunday.

As police followed orders from the central government to put a stop to the vote, they fired rubber bullets at unarmed protesters and smashed through the glass at polling places, reports The Associated Press. Three hundred and thirty-seven people were injured, some seriously, according to Catalonia's government spokesman.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for a planned Oct. 1 vote on Catalan independence.

Spain considers the referendum to be illegal. On Wednesday, Spanish police with court-ordered search warrants seized millions of ballots and detained more than a dozen Catalan politicians. A top treasury official is being held on sedition charges, the BBC reports.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Police have shot and killed Younes Abouyaaqoub, the alleged driver of a van that plowed into pedestrians last week in Barcelona, Catalonia's president confirmed Monday. He said the suspect was wearing what turned out to be a fake explosives belt.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET

A Catholic Mass was held in Barcelona on Sunday to honor the victims of last week's terror attacks, as authorities continued a manhunt for at least one suspect in the killings of 14 people along Spain's northeast Mediterranean coast.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Barcelona that thousands attended the Mass, held in Spanish and Catalan languages, at the city's iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica. Among those present were King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET

Spanish authorities say they have dismantled a terror cell of mostly Moroccan natives that is believed to be responsible for vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 14 people and hurt more than 100 others.

But a manhunt continues for the alleged driver of a van used in the main attack on pedestrians on Thursday in Barcelona. Two other suspects are believed to be at large.

"The cell has been completely dismantled in Barcelona," Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said at a news conference on Saturday.

Spanish police say they've arrested four people in connection to terrorist attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 100 others in and around Barcelona Thursday. Five suspects were killed as they tried to carry out a second terrorist attack in a nearby city.

The current location of the driver of a white van that plowed through a crowd of people on Barcelona's landmark Las Ramblas boulevard Thursday afternoon remains unknown.

Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET Friday

Hours after a van drove into a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain, Spanish police say they stopped a second terrorist attack.

Authorities say the two attacks are linked.

Police say five suspects wearing explosives — later determined to be fake — were killed after a shootout with security forces in the Catalan coastal town of Cambrils located about 70 miles southwest of Barcelona. Six civilians and a police officer were injured, police said early Friday.

Tourists flood the area of Madrid's "Museum Mile" — a stretch of the huge, eight-lane Paseo del Prado thoroughfare that's home to Spain's most renowned art museums. It's smoggy and crowded with all the traffic.

At the CaixaForum, an arts foundation, people pause. It's what's on the outside of this museum, rather than what's inside, that's halted them: a giant vertical garden with more than 15,000 plants from 300 native species — begonias, yucca plants, ferns — coating an entire outer wall stretching the length of a city block.

In recent years, Spain has had a devastating economic crash, an influx of migrants and corruption scandals that left people fed up with politicians. All these factors might make Spain fertile ground for the sort of right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties gaining ground in other parts of Europe. But unlike much of the continent, Spain has no such far-right movement.

Why?

Princess Cristina, the sister of Spain's King Felipe VI, has been acquitted in an alleged embezzlement scheme — but her husband was found guilty Friday, as a court handed down a prison sentence of more than six years to Iñaki Urdangarín for an assortment of crimes.

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