Three-quarters of 1,000,000 individuals have rallied in Barcelona to protest in opposition to Spain’s detention of Catalan independence leaders, police estimate.
They shone cellphone torches in unison at sundown as calls had been made to free eight regional ministers and two grbadroots marketing campaign leaders being held on remand.
Some of the detainees might be included on the listing of a Catalan separatist social gathering at subsequent month’s snap election.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s mayoress has condemned pro-independence leaders.
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The Catalan parliament declared independence final month following an unrecognised referendum on independence from Spain.
Madrid responded by dissolving the parliament and calling a regional election on 21 December.
Since the crackdown by Madrid, Catalonia’s sacked President Carles Puigdemont has gone into self-imposed exile in Belgium, and his high allies have been prosecuted.
A lawyer whose agency represents two of his imprisoned former ministers instructed BBC News their state of affairs had been made worse by Mr Puigdemont’s resolution to flee.
Prisoners and elections
James Reynolds, BBC News, Barcelona
The pro-independence motion has confirmed its means to mobilise mbadive numbers of demonstrators. Many got here to this newest protest from small cities and villages in Catalonia – an indication of the motion’s attain.
Their instant intention is to name for the discharge of the eight politicians and two activists remanded in custody on prices of sedition and riot. The authorities in Madrid insist that the case is solely a matter for the courts, however the detention of politicians and activists does have a political influence. Imprisonment might have served to extend their recognition. It might galvanise the pro-independence motion because the regional election approaches.
The pro-independence camp needs to win a transparent parliamentary majority. That would permit their aspect to have one other go at making an attempt to interrupt away from Spain. But the pro-union camp, which represents the opposite half of Catalan society, can even marketing campaign vigorously.
‘We are a republic!’
Protesters marched behind a banner declaring “We are a republic” and carried placards declaring the 10 detainees political prisoners.
The sacked former ministers are being investigated for alleged riot and sedition, whereas the 2 activists had been arrested over a mbad protest earlier than the referendum.
There had been performances and speeches to the group. Protesters chanted “Puigdemont for president” and a cellist performed a conventional Christmas carol, The Song of the Birds, which is related to Catalans pushed into political exile.
The left-wing ERC social gathering, a key ally of Mr Puigdemont, has introduced that a few of the prisoners, together with social gathering chief Oriol Junqueras, in addition to a few of the sacked ministers who additionally went to Belgium, will stand on its electoral listing.
However, the ERC has rejected a name from Mr Puigdemont to battle the election as a part of a single pro-independence bloc with different events – as they did in 2015.
A latest opinion ballot in Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia means that the ERC will win the largest share of the vote in December.
Ada Colau, who was elected mayoress in 2015 on an anti-capitalist platform and whose social gathering (a merger of left-wing events) is standing within the regional parliamentary election for the primary time, mentioned leaders of the independence motion had “tricked the population for their own interests”.
“They’ve provoked tensions and carried out a unilateral independence declaration which the majority do not want,” she instructed a gathering of her Catalunya en Comú (English: Catalonia in Common) social gathering.