Thousands march in Barcelona for jailed Catalan leaders

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Thousands march in Barcelona for jailed Catalan leaders

The slogan for the day was “For rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want you home!” and this was welcomed by Mr Puigdemont and many of his supporters believe that this demonstration put paid to the idea that the call for independence was losing steam.

A large-scale rally is held on Sunday in the Spanish resort city of Barcelona, where thousands of protesters demand the release of local politicians and activists detained on the charges related to the 2017 independence vote, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Like thousands of others at the march, she wore a yellow ribbon to show solidarity with the jailed leaders, whom Catalan separatists consider to be “political prisoners”.

It is estimated that more than 300.000 people participated in the protest.

Former president of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont tweeted his support for the demonstration from Germany, where he was arrested last month on an worldwide warrant. “What we as labour unions are asking for now is dialogue”.

Puigdemont is also accused of misuse of public funds for staging an independence referendum in Catalonia on October 1 even though the courts had ruled it unconstitutional.

Seven other Catalan separatist leaders are in jail in Spain while they await trial for rebellion, along with the two leaders of the grassroots separatist groups.

The independence movement is “a bit decapitated” following the arrests of its leaders but “this is temporary”, added de Ferrer, who supports leftist separatist party ERC, whose leader Oriol Junqueras is in jail.

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

Last Thursday, Spain’s Supreme Court refused to release Sanchez, preventing him being named as leader of the region on Friday. Their subsequent declaration of independence for the region led to a crackdown by Spanish authorities acting to defend the Spanish Constitution, which declares the nation “indivisible”.

However, in those elections, held on December 21, the three pro sovereignty parties revalidated their majority in the Catalan chamber although the legislature has not yet begun after four unsuccessful attempts to invest in a new President.

The latest opinion poll published by the Catalan government in February said that support for independence had decreased to 40 percent from near 49 percent in October.

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