Catalan Protesters Demand Release of Jailed Separatist Advisors

Catalan Protesters Demand Release of Jailed Separatist Advisors

Police put attendance at 315,000 while the organisers said 750,000 people had turned out to take part in the protest, with the city's streets once again filled with people dressed in yellow clutching pro-independence estelada flags.

"Since they could not decapitate separatism, they are trying to do it through the courts", said Roser Urgelles, a 59-year-old teacher, at the protest. Spanish and German prosecutors met last week at the headquarters of Eurojust in The Hague.

On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, during which the vast majority of voters backed the region's secession from Spain.

Puigdemont is also accused of misuse of public funds for staging an independence referendum in Catalonia on October 1 despite it having been ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

Supreme court judge Pablo Llarena refused last week to release him from jail and he faces up to 25 years on charges of rebellion, marking the latest of four unsuccessful attempts to elect a new leader.

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Lawmakers defied court orders and held that a referendum on autonomy. 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".

The rally was organized by the Catalan pro-independence groups and trade unions.

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

In Barcelona, the supporters of the March for the independence of the region require the government to stop the repression and persecution of Catalan politicians. If a new leader is not named before the end of May, Catalonia will be forced to call another election.

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