Апреля 24, 2018

Catalan separatists march, demand release of jailed leaders

17 Апреля 2018, 11:45 | Taylor George

Over 350000 Catalans Flood Barcelona in Support of Independence Leaders

Thousands Rally in Barcelona Demanding Release of Detained Politicians (PHOTOS)

The demonstration was organised by two grassroots independence groups, the ANC and Omnium, the presidents of which are among the nine separatist leaders in prison awaiting trial for their roles in Catalonia's failed 2017's breakaway.

The regional chapters of Spain's two leading labor unions, along with other civil society groups, supported the protest, despite the complaints from some members who disagree with secession for Catalonia.

Around 315,000 people participated in street protests on Sunday, Barcelona police estimated, demanding the release or return of 16 Catalan leaders who are in prison or have fled Spain following October's independence referendum.

"The majority of Catalans, regardless of their political position, agree that pre-
trial jail is not justified", said regional UGT union leader Camil Ros.

"But it is not a separatist protest".

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Hundreds of buses brought protesters from across the wealthy northeastern region of Spain to Barcelona, the Catalan capital, for the march.

Spanish justice authorities accuse the Catalan politicians of incitement to mutiny, and their leader Carles Pokdemon at home waiting for the court and probably a life sentence for the coup attempt in the country. "The interpretation of the references to "Catalonia as a nation" and to "the national reality of Catalonia" in the preamble of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia have no legal effect", the constitutional court had decreed.

"I took part in all the protests and I never saw an ounce of violence except for that by police when they repressed the referendum", said Juan Jose Cabrero, a 74-year-old pensioner at the protest. The plebiscite was not recognized by Madrid, which subsequently imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government.

Fresh regional elections will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.

"Internally, political tensions in Catalonia could generate episodes of lack of confidence", Linde said in a speech before the Spanish parliament.

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