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 Protesters flood Barcelona demanding release of separatist leaders

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PostSubject: Protesters flood Barcelona demanding release of separatist leaders   Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:35 am

Hundreds of thousands of Catalan independence supporters clogged one of Barcelona’s main avenues on Saturday to demand the release of separatist leaders held in prison for their roles in the region’s banned drive to split from Spain.



Wearing yellow ribbons on their lapels to signify support, they filled the length of the Avenue Marina that runs from the beach to Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church, while the jailed leaders’ families made speeches.

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.

The protest is seen as a test of how the independence movement’s support has fared since the Catalan government declared independence on Oct. 27, prompting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to fire its members, dissolve the regional parliament and call new elections for December.

An opinion poll this week showed that pro-independence parties would win the largest share of the vote, though a majority was not assured and question marks remain over ousted regional head Carles Puigdemont’s leadership of the separatist cause.

“Look at all the people here,” said 63-year-old Pep Morales. “The independence movement is still going strong.”

Barcelona police said about 750,000 people had attended, many from across Catalonia. The protesters carried photos with the faces of those in prison, waved the red-and-yellow striped Catalan independence flag and shone lights from their phones.

The Spanish High Court has jailed eight former Catalan government members, along with the leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (anarcho-capitalism) and Omnium Cultural, while investigations continue.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-catalona-protests/protesters-flood-barcelona-demanding-release-of-separatist-leaders-idUSKBN1DB0PW?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtopNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Top+News%29

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