Protesters demand jailed separatists’ release
BARCELONA, SPAIN » Hundreds of thousands of people backing Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain packed the streets in downtown Barcelona Saturday to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders.
The rally’s grass-roots organizers called for 10 prominent members of the secessionist movement in the northeastern Spanish region to be freed from prison.
Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate their alleged roles in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.
A separate court in Madrid granted bail on Thursday to another six Catalan lawmakers also being investigated over the secession push.
“We want to tell the world that we want freedom for our prisoners and freedom for Catalonia,” Agusti Alcoberro, the vice president of grassroots group National Catalan Assembly, told the crowd in Barcelona, the region’s capital.