Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Catalan Protesters Demand Release of Jailed Separatist Advisors

Catalan Protesters Demand Release of Jailed Separatist Advisors

Police in Barcelona said that some 315,000 people had taken part in the demonstration.

The rally marked six months of detention for pro-independence activists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, who face charges of rebellion leading to a jail term of 30 years.

The demonstration was organized by two grassroots independence groups, the ANC and Omnium, whose presidents are among the nine separatist leaders in prison awaiting trial over their role in last year's failed breakaway bid by Catalonia.

It is not the moment of trials or arrests, but of building bridges and finding a solution, assured the General Secretary of the UGT of Catalonia, Camil Ros. "It is time to build bridges and the Catalan problem can not be solved through the courts but by dialogue and politics", he added. Spanish and German prosecutors met last week at the headquarters of Eurojust in The Hague.

Catalonia has been in political limbo since Spain's conservative central government imposed direct rule on the region after it unilaterally declared independence in October. Leaders from both groups were jailed following the referendum.

The secession movement in the wealthy region has plunged Spain into its deepest institutional crisis in decades.

Spanish justice authorities accuse the Catalan politicians of sedition. "The interpretation of the references to "Catalonia as a nation" and to "the national reality of Catalonia" in the preamble of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia have no legal effect", the constitutional court had decreed.

Also leaders of the coalition of left Catalonia in Comú-Podem came together; they are opposed to independence but in favor of Catalans' right to decide.

However, in those elections, held on December 21, the three pro sovereignty parties revalidated their majority in the Catalan chamber although the legislature has not yet begun after four unsuccessful attempts to invest in a new President. The poll surveyed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

If a new leader in Catalonia is not elected by May 22, new regional elections will be held.

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