Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

Massive march in Spain against jailing of leaders

Massive march in Spain against jailing of leaders

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.

Under the slogan, 'For the rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want them at home!, the peaceful protest was called by the Bureau for Democracy and Coexistence, which brings together political, union, social, sports and cultural entities.

While conceding that the arrests of prominent Catalan leaders on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds had left the independence movement "decapitated", he said the setback was only temporary.

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

The Guardia Urbana, a Catalan municipal police force, said 315,000 people turned out.

"There have been tensions (among unions members) just like in the rest of the Catalan society", the secretary general of the Catalan branch of UGT, Camil Ros, told AFP.

The Catalan sections of CC.OO. and UGT defended their attendance to the mobilization, after considering that the serious dispute in the rich autonomous community of 7.5 million inhabitants must be resolved through dialogue and politics and not in the courts.

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.

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.

The movements at the wealthy region has plunged Spain in years.

Alex de Ferrer, a 50-year-old IT specialist, told Agence France Presse (AFP) that he had chose to join the protest as jailing separatist leaders "only serves to manufacture separatists".

Separatist lawmakers defied court orders and held an ad-hoc referendum on independence in October.

Catalonia has been without a government since late December, when pro-independence parties won another majority in parliamentary elections.

Since October 16 the leaders of Catalonia's two largest pro-independence groups - Jordi Sanchez of the ANC and Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Jordi Cuixart - have been in jail while they await their trial for rebellion. The poll surveyed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

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