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Spanish police arrest seven in connection with Catalan secession

A Catalan and a Spanish flag flutter on top of the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, early Monday Oct. 30, 2017. Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona Sunday to call for their region to remain part of Spain, two days after regional lawmakers exacerbated a political crisis by voting for the wealthy region to secede. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spanish authorities have detained seven people in Catalonia as part of a crackdown on disturbances associated with the region's attempts to secede from Spain, saying one of those arrested is suspected of terrorism.

The Guardia Civil said it arrested a woman believed to be a leader of Catalonia's so-called Committees for the Defence of the Republic - a grassroots group that organises protests.

The group has been behind the blocking of road and train lines in Catalonia to press its demand for independence.

The Guardia Civil statement did not explain the legal grounds for the terrorism charge for the woman, but some Spanish officials have described the group's actions as sabotage.

Elsewhere, the Catalan police force Mossos d'Esquadra has detained six men on suspicion of public disorder offences during tense protests outside the region's parliament in January.

A large crowd gathered outside when politicians attempted to elect Carles Puigdemont, a pro-independence leader who is now a fugitive, as Catalan president.

The three pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament said the arrests amounted to "judicial persecution" of the separatists by Spain's central authorities.

Secessionist groups planned street protests in Catalonia in the wake of the arrests.