October 18, 2019 / 3:34 PM / a month ago

Spanish judge orders closure of Catalan protest group website

MADRID, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A Spanish judge on Friday ordered the closure of web pages linked to Democratic Tsunami, a secretive Catalan group behind huge protests against the jailing of secessionist leaders, police said.

The group immediately moved its homepage to a new address. It was not clear if the court would try to close that too.

Democratic Tsunami emerged a few days ago to organise protests via its website and social media following the sentencing on Monday of nine Catalan separatist leaders to long jail terms.

“The Judicial Authority has told operators to stop serving the domains in which the #Tsunamidemocratic Platform is based ... since they could favour the commission of crimes,” police said on Twitter.

A judicial source said the court decision was taken in secret. Eight web pages had been closed following violent protests this week in Barcelona.

Democratic Tsunami says it is non-violent but has not said who runs the group.

In a post on Telegram, the group said its original website was blocked and recommended followers visit another site. It gave information on an app to “avoid Spanish censorship”.

Democratic Tsunami was behind a massive protest on Monday when demonstrators marched on Barcelona airport, causing dozens of flight cancellations.

The nine separatist leaders have been jailed for their role in organising an illegal referendum in 2017 on Catalan independence from Spain.

Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has said authorities are investigating who is behind Democratic Tsunami. (Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Joan Faus Writing by Ingrid Melander Editing by Giles Elgood)

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