Catalans rally for freedom and return of independence leaders

  • Catalans rally for freedom and return of independence leaders

Catalans rally for freedom and return of independence leaders

The first two jailed were Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who wield influence through their pro-independence civic organizations.

"They need to demonstrate that there was violence to execute the sentences that they want, so they invent it", she said.

Spain's justice minister, Rafael Catala, has called the yellow ribbons "insulting", arguing that Spain has no political prisoners but "politicians in prison".

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.

"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 Saturday on the eve of the march.

Alex de Ferrer, a 50-year-old IT specialist, said he'planned to take part in the protest because jailing separatist leaders "only serves to manufacture separatists".

A German court ruled that he could not be extradited to Spain on rebellion charges but is still considering an extradition on charges of corruption.

Spanish authorities quickly moved to crush the revived secessionist movement by arresting several Catalonian politicians on charges of rebellion and sedition.

In 2006, during the time when Zapatero government (PSOE) was in power, the Catalan parliament brought forth demands for increased self-governance in Catalonia through a 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, a law passed by the legislature in the autonomous Spanish community, which went on to be approved by Spain's parliament and later ratified in a referendum by Catalan voters.

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.

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

Fresh regional elections will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.