As Carles Puigdemont faces a legal battle, his deputy and several cabinet members have already been placed in pre-trial custody in Madrid.
In an address broadcast by Catalan television, Puigdemont demanded the release of what he called “the legitimate government of Catalonia” and the end of “political repression”.
Like their absent leader, the nine separatist politicians who faced Spain’s high court are accused of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds.
Bail was only granted to one of them, Santi Vila, who stepped down before Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence.
As they were driven off to spend the night behind bars, Puigdemont said he would go back to Spain only if given unspecified guarantees by the Spanish government.