Catalans demand Spain free leaders

Catalans demand Spain free leaders

In addition to the freedom of the separatists in preventive detention, the demonstrators - some 300, 000 according to the Barcelona Urban Guard - demanded the return of the seven separatist leaders exiled in other European countries.

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

The protest was backed by the Catalan branches of Spain's two largest trade unions, the CCOO and the UGT.

"The majority of Catalans, regardless of their political position, agree that pre-
trial jail is not justified", said regional UGT union leader Camil Ros. Spanish and German prosecutors met last week at the headquarters of Eurojust in The Hague.

They are also accused of mobilizing thousands of pro-independence supporters to prevent police from stopping the October 1st independence referendum from going ahead.

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

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

Supreme court judge Pablo Llarena refused last week to release him from jail and he faces up to 25 years on charges of rebellion, marking the latest of four unsuccessful attempts to elect a new leader.

"Internally, political tensions in Catalonia could generate episodes of lack of confidence", Linde said in a speech before the Spanish parliament.

The Supreme Court of Spain prosecuted them for the crimes of rebellion and / or embezzlement of public funds for their role in holding a referendum on self-determination, which led to a unilateral declaration of independence on 27 October.

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

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