Demanding an immediate release of the jailed separatist leaders for their roles in the region’s banned independence drive, the Barcelona protestors ranging in hundreds of thousands gathered at the Central Barcelona on Saturday.
During the jailed leader’s families speeches, the Catalan independence supporters can be seen wearing yellow ribbons on their lapels to signify support. The entire length of the Avenue Marina that runs from the beach to Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church was surrounded by an overwhelming number of supporters.
Catalonia Independence: Thousands of Barcelona Protestors on Streets
Facing charges of Sedition, the jailed separatist leaders were remanded in custody last month. Catalonia’s two main grassroots independence groups called the march, under the slogan “Freedom for the political prisoners”, after their leaders were remanded in custody on charges of sedition last month.
Many of the families, young people and pensioners there traveled from across Catalonia to attend the march. They carried photos with the faces of those in prison and waved the red-and-yellow striped Catalan independence flag.
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Barcelona’s police said that more than 750,000 people attended the rally. The protest is seen as a test of how the independence movement’s support has fared since the Catalan government declared independence on 27 October, prompting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to fire its members, dissolve the regional parliament and call new elections for December.
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The court last week issued arrest warrants on charges of rebellion and sedition for ex-regional president Carles Puigdemont, who flew to Brussels after being deposed, and four other former government members who went with him.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court released on bail the Catalan parliament’s speaker Carme Forcadell and four other lawmakers, who enabled the declaration of independence by overseeing a parliamentary vote. Another lawmaker was released without bail.
The Spanish High Court has jailed eight former government members, along with the leaders of the grassroots groups the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, while investigations into their roles continue.