Brussels—Former Catalan leadership flees to Belgium.

Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and five members of his former cabinet are in the Belgian capital.

“We came to avoid a confrontation that may possibly have occurred if we stayed in Barcelona,” said Puigdemont in a press conference.

But he clarified that he wouldn’t be seeking political asylum from the Belgian authorities.

Spanish Attorney General Jose Maza had earlier filed charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds against the former Catalan leadership.

In a press conference, he accused them of “an institutional crisis that ended with the unilateral declaration of independence with total contempt for our constitution.”

If found guilty, they could face up to 30 years in jail.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Government continues to implement direct rule in the troubled region.  The Catalan Parliament has been dissolved.  Catalan police chiefs have been fired and Catalan civil servants have been fired in droves.  To replace them, fresh blood is being brought from elsewhere in Spain.