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The Latest: Belgium official: Puigdemont could seek asylum

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

A Belgian government official says it would be “not unrealistic” for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to ask for asylum and warns it would create serious diplomatic difficulties with fellow European Union member state Spain.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaks during a statement at the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Catalonia’s separatist leader has called on Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain’s takeover, in a staged appearance that seemed to convey that he refuses to accept his firing, which was ordered by central authorities (Presidency Press Service, Pool Photo via AP)

Asylum State Secretary Theo Francken tweeted early Sunday that “it is possible to ask for asylum as an EU subject” in Belgium. Francken stressed that Belgium wasn’t seeking such a scenario, saying “I’m not rolling out the welcome mat.”

Francken added that if such a request would come in, “we’d enter a difficult diplomatic situation with the Spanish authorities. That is evident.”

There has been no indication that Puigdemont has requested asylum after Spain took control of Catalonia’s government and dismissed its leaders, including Puigdemont, after regional lawmakers voted to declare independence from Spain.

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8:35 a.m.

Catalonia’s main city Barcelona is bracing for a new day of protests over an independence declaration that led to the regional government’s dismissal by Spain.

Societat Civil Catalan has called for those who oppose Catalan independence to march at noon Sunday (1100 GMT; 7 a.m. EDT).

Organizers say the march’s goal is to defend Spain’s unity and reject “an unprecedented attack in the history of democracy.” Their slogan will be “We are all Catalonia. Common sense for coexistence!” Members of the central government and main pro-union parties are expected to join.

Three weeks ago, the same group organized a mass rally that brought hundreds of thousands onto Barcelona’s streets.

No pro-independence marches were expected Sunday. Catalonia’s ousted leader has called for Catalans to engage in peaceful opposition.

A nationalist activist holds a Spanish flag as they drive around Barcelona, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A nationalist activist holds a Spanish flag as they drive around Barcelona, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Nationalist activists hold Spanish flags as they cheer the national police officers guarding one of the main entrances at the port of Barcelona, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Nationalist activists hold Spanish flags as they cheer the national police officers guarding one of the main entrances at the port of Barcelona, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Nationalist activists hold Spanish flags as they drive around Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Nationalist activists hold Spanish flags as they drive around Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A nationalist activist holds an European Union flag as national police officers stand guard at one of the entrances at the Barcelona port, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A nationalist activist holds an European Union flag as national police officers stand guard at one of the entrances at the Barcelona port, Spain, Saturday Oct. 28, 2017. About 300 pro union activists drove through Barcelona center with cars and motorcycles and reached the port to show solidarity toward the Guardia Civil national police, based at the Barcelona harbour. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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