Pro-independence protesters obstructed major roads and a high-speed railway line in Spain's Catalonia region on Monday, a year after a banned referendum on secession was marred by police violence.
Thousands of people demonstrating both for and against Catalan independence shut down parts of central Barcelona on Saturday, two days before the anniversary of a vote on secession last year that polarised the wealthy Spanish region.
Catalonia's deposed president Carles Puigdemont returns to Belgium on Saturday to keep pressing for his region's independence after a Spanish judge dropped a European arrest warrant for him.
The Spanish court also dropped European arrest warrants for five other Catalan pro-independence leaders living abroad.
Catalonia's new president Quim Torra on Saturday named two former ministers, jailed by Madrid for backing independence from Spain, together with two others who fled into exile, to his regional government.
The Catalan parliament is expected to vote in a hard-line separatist as leader on Monday, heralding an end to seven months of direct rule from Madrid but also more political uncertainty in a region that retains a mandate to seek a split from Spain.
At least one woman was arrested Tuesday for ‘rebellion’ and ‘terrorism’ in a probe of pro-independence activists in Catalonia who have staged protests such as road blockades, the interior minister said.
Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati, who is wanted by Spain for her role in last year's independence bid, surrendered to Scottish police Wednesday to face arrest under a European warrant.
Jordi Sanchez, a separatist civic leader in jail over his alleged role in Catalonia's secession bid, is mulling dropping his bid to lead the region in what could ease a months-long political blockage.
The ceremony in Madrid's royal palace came as uncertainty persists in Catalonia, where an attempt to break away and form an independent republic has threatened the unity of Spain.