Thousands of Catalan separatists are rallying in downtown Barcelona to demand the release of high-profile secessionist leaders being held in pre-trial detention.
It is reported that this morning, on city streets left more than 15 thousand people with playtime "Freedom for political prisoners". The protest came six months after the first incarcerations of top Catalan separatist leaders for misuse of public funds, sedition and rebellion - which carries a prison sentence of 30 years and implies that a "violent uprising" took place - over their separatist push.
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". "But we will continue to protest peacefully". Barcelona police said 315,000 people participated in the protest.
The demonstration was organized by two pro-independence groups, the National Catalan Assembly and Omnium Cultural.
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"But it is not a separatist protest".
Spanish justice authorities accuse the Catalan politicians of incitement to mutiny, and their leader Carles Pokdemon at home waiting for the court and probably a life sentence for the coup attempt in the country.
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.
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Many protesters chanted "Puigdemont, president!"
"I took part in all the protests and I never saw an ounce of violence except for that by police when they repressed the referendum", said Juan Jose Cabrero, a 74-year-old pensioner at the protest.
"Internally, political tensions in Catalonia could generate episodes of lack of confidence", Linde said in a speech before the Spanish parliament. If a new leader is not named before the end of May, Catalonia will be forced to call another election.
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