Protests As Ex-Catalan Leader Slips Out Of Finland, Arrested in Germany

Carles Puigdemont was in Finland as a guest of MP Mikko Kärnä, and to deliver a lecture at Helsinki University.

Lapland MP Mikko Kärnä (L) and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (R) arriving at Helsinki University on 23.04.2018 where Puigdemont was delivering a lecture / Credit; @karnamikko Twitter

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Barcelona to protest the arrest of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on an international arrest warrant.

Puigdemont was caught by German police on Sunday, after he crossed the border from Denmark.

Just 48 hours earlier, Puigdemont was being feted by Finnish politicians and academics during a visit hosted by Lapland MP Mikko Kärnä (Centre); and at a Helsinki University lecture.

Spain issued the arrest warrant on Friday, and although Puigdemont was scheduled to leave Helsinki anyway on Saturday, he slipped out on Friday evening, apparently by ferry.

Saturday was a day of confusion as Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen (NCP) and the Finnish police seemed in disarray over where Puigdemont might be, and what could happen if he was arrested.

Mykkänen was quoted as saying that extradition wasn’t a foregone conclusion, and that the case would be assessed under Finnish law, while Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said Puigdemont would be arrested as soon as he was found, but that at the time they didn’t know where he was.

By Saturday night, Mikko Kärnä issued a statement confirming Puigdemont was long gone from Finland. Since then the Centre Party politician has been tweeting to EU and German lawmakers in support of Mr Puigdemont. In one tweet, he wrote that Germany would be “no better than Nazi Germany” if it extradited Puigdemont to Spain.

Read our original story about Kärnä’s Catalan fixation here.